Belt and Road Expo met with cold show, embarrassed by Chinese Communist Party

On May 21, the CCP’s “Belt and Road” Expo opened in Chongqing. The Chinese Communist Party expected the fair to be an opportunity to “join hands with the West to create a better future,” but Beijing was embarrassed when the invited major European and American companies refused to send high-level representatives to the fair or related events.

The “Belt and Road” Expo, also known as the “Third Western China International Investment and Trade Fair”, opened on the 21st. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, the Communist Party’s guest list includes many blue-chip Western companies that have been invited to invest in large-scale infrastructure projects along the Belt and Road. The “Belt and Road” is the centerpiece of Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping’s foreign policy.

But the only problem with the fair was that no invited companies showed up. This has left authorities scratching their heads. In response, the Chinese organizers used the fair, which opened on the 21st, as a venue to highlight the strengthening of partnerships with ASEAN members.

“We will deepen economic exchanges with ASEAN and share business opportunities in China’s inland regions,” said Chongqing Mayor Tang Liangzhi at the event.

Tang Liangzhi oversees economic policy under Chongqing Municipal Party Secretary Chen Miner. Chen Miner is seen as a close ally of Xi Jinping. Chen Miner attended the opening ceremony and opened the event on the 21st.

Senior government officials from Singapore, Vietnam, Laos and other ASEAN countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative attended the fair.

The U.S. and major European companies did not attend the conference, which was organized by the Chinese Communist Party, because of human rights violations and trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

“The Nikkei said that Microsoft, ExxonMobil, Wal-Mart, Daimler and other companies that were initially invited to the Western China International Investment Conference declined to send their executives to the expo or related events.

The Communist Party’s official media, Xinhua News Agency, and others made no mention of the absence of all major Western companies from the international investment and trade fair.

According to Chongqing government figures, the 2021 event brought in 228.5 billion yuan ($35.4 billion) in major project contracts, a 30 percent drop from the 2019 total. The fair was canceled in 2020 due to the epidemic. The event aims to accelerate Xi Jinping’s aggressive “Belt and Road” infrastructure development.

Chongqing is positioned as a link between the rail network that extends to Europe and transportation routes to Southeast Asia, the report said. However, the Communist Party’s mistreatment of Uighurs in the Xinjiang region, coupled with Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong people and tensions with Taiwan, has worsened relations with the United States and Europe.

On March 22, the European Union announced sanctions against CCP officials and entities for human rights violations in Xinjiang. The CCP immediately announced sanctions against European parliamentarians, academics and think tanks, and banned them from entering mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. This move sparked strong discontent in the EU.

This Thursday (May 20), the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to freeze the China-EU investment agreement. The Nikkei says the European Parliament’s postponement of the investment agreement is seen as a setback for Xi. Xi pushed for the comprehensive agreement with the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, in December last year during the US-China trade war.