Major Cracks Appear in China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Dr. Munr Kazmir
4 min readJan 24, 2023

From billion-dollar construction flaws to scrapped projects: Is the Chinese Communist Party’s Belt and Road wearing out already?

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash.

“SAN LUIS, Ecuador — Built near a spewing volcano, it was the biggest infrastructure project ever in this country, a concrete colossus bankrolled by Chinese cash and so important to Beijing that China’s leader, Xi Jinping, spoke at the 2016 inauguration,” began Ryan Dube and Gabriele Steinhauser for the Wall Street Journal last week.

“Today, thousands of cracks have emerged in the $2.7 billion Coca Coda Sinclair hydroelectric plant, government engineers said, raising concerns that Ecuador’s biggest source of power could break down,” wrote Dube and Steinhauser.

The fault lines spreading in San Luis, Ecuador, aren’t the only cracks to appear in China’s vast Belt and Road Initiative in recent weeks.

Uganda has turned to Turkey to build its railway after China talks fell through,” reported Faustine Ngila on January 13, 2023, for Quartz.

The China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC), under the auspices of China’s ambitious global Belt and Road Initiative, will not be building a 273-kilometer railway from Uganda’s capital city to its border with neighboring Kenya, after all.

The project, which has been stalled for years, will now likely go to a Turkish firm, Yapi Merkezi — the company responsible for successfully building a similar railway system in nearby Tanzania.

“This was preceded by China’s hesitance to finance the landlocked east African economy with the $2.3 billion needed for the project, seemingly as a precaution, given previous defaults by African countries like Zambia and Ghana,” wrote Ngila.

As China’s Belt and Road loans have fallen into default, the Chinese Communist Party has begun serious damage control.

China Reins In Its Belt and Road Program, $1 Trillion Later,” reported the Wall Street Journal on September 26, 2022.

“China has spent a trillion dollars to expand its influence across Asia, Africa, and Latin America through its Belt and Road infrastructure program,” wrote WSJ contributor Lingling Wei. “Now, Beijing is working on an overhaul of the troubled…