It is a testimony to the peculiarities of international attention to world events that while every tweet by US President Donald Trump triggers an avalanche of reports, analyses, and outright abuse, little attention is paid as the People’s Republic of China prepares to hold its five-yearly National Congress of the Communist Party in Beijing.
And, yet, China is now established as the world’s largest economy in gross domestic product (GDP) terms and the second-biggest exporter after Germany. It also has the world’s fastest-growing portfolio of foreign investments with interests in 118 nations across the globe.
At the same time, at least 10 million Chinese are working abroad, almost always on projects sponsored by Beijing, helping transform large chunks of Africa, South America, and Asia.
According to estimates, there are already more than three million Chinese in Siberia, spearheading a 19th-century-style campaign to exploit the region’s vast natural resources. First encouraged by Moscow, the Chinese presence has become a source of concern for the Kremlin which fears losing control of Siberia due to demographic imbalance. This is why Russia now offers free land and seed capital to any Russian citizen who wishes to settle in Siberia. (Few have taken the offer, so far!)
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