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【People’s Daily Online】ICRC: China a rising international player in humanitarian

Thursday,May 31, 2018

(Peter Maurer, president of International Committee of the Red Cross     Photo courtesy of Center for China and Globalization)


China is now taking an extroverted dimension in the international humanitarian efforts in the fragile war-and-conflict-torn regions along the Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative, in a bid to help preserve the long-term maintenance in both world peace and economy development, president of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in Beijing on Tuesday.

Some countries and regions along B&R are in humanitarian crisis, said Peter Maurer, the ICRC president, at a press conference in Center for China and Globalization on May 29.“Investors from China are not only neutral actors, but a humanitarian mediator in the war-torn areas.”

Chinese investment in 59 countries covered by the B&R totaled $14.4 billion last year, according to data released by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Chinese constructors overseas have, in fact, been changing the lives of ordinary people under the grand strategy through smaller projects, from drinking facilities to village roads.

 

In Ethiopia, where the world’s largest 500 KV power transmission and transformation project has been completed by State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), some 300 kilometers of village roads were constructed during project construction, which helped create 15,000 jobs for local residents. It also set up 10 playgrounds for local schools, according to Yu Naichun, a general manager with the group.

In Angola, former military men were offered a new path of development through an occupational school set up by CITIC Construction, which also established 100 public welfare funds, 50 primary schools and 50 clinics in Myanmar under the B&R construction.

“It has become a common practice for Chinese companies to build basic infrastructure projects overseas for free during the construction of bigger ones to boost project efficiency and improve people’s livelihood,” said Yan Li, chief information officer with CITIC Construction, at a forum in January.

"Development is endangered by the acute social tensions such as wars, corruption, poverty and poor governance … The Belt and Road Initiative is about development, and development requires stability and peace," said Maurer.

Providing neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian assistance in sometimes protracted conflicts and situations of violence can create an environment conducive for development, the president noted.

 

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