China needs trans­parency, ac­count­abil­ity

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION -

THE EDI­TOR, Madam:

THIS IS with ref­er­ence to the In Fo­cus ar­ti­cle ‘Joint ef­forts for new pros­per­ity’, writ­ten by the Chi­nese Am­bas­sador Tian Qi in The Sun­day Gleaner, let me take the op­por­tu­nity to ex­press my grat­i­tude for the as­sis­tance pro­vided by China to Ja­maica and the Caribbean for fight­ing the COVID-19 cri­sis. How­ever, I feel that though China has a strong plan for eco­nomic re­vival and progress, it will be dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment it, es­pe­cially when the whole world is still grap­pling with the COVID-19 cri­sis.

The am­bas­sador talks about greater glob­al­i­sa­tion, mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism and rule-based world or­der, but such a world or­der is not pos­si­ble if coun­tries like China con­tinue to with­hold im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion, like about the COVID-19 cri­sis. CNN’s Farid Zakaria’s re­cent in­ves­ti­ga­tion and the WHO’s own state­ment have pointed to some sort of de­lib­er­ate de­lay on the part of China in shar­ing in­for­ma­tion about the COVID-19 cri­sis with the world, in­clud­ing with their al­lies from the One Belt One Road project.

We ac­knowl­edge that China is a world power, but the am­bas­sador would also do well to de­sist from be­lit­tling coun­tries like Ja­maica by us­ing ex­pres­sions – like say­ing that the Hainan Is­land project is three times as big as Ja­maica. Clearly, the per capita in­come and the qual­ity of life – and not the size of the project or place – mat­ter in re­al­ity. And Ja­maica does not do badly on these pa­ram­e­ters when com­pared to any mid­dle-in­come coun­try, in­clud­ing China.

To en­vi­sion a world or­der men­tioned by the am­bas­sador, China will have to re­form it­self by be­com­ing more trans­par­ent and ac­count­able for its de­ci­sions and ac­tions.

YANIQUE BEN­NETT Kingston

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