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Xi's BRI faces criticism during China's annual political sessions: Report

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

Chinese Xi Jinping's much-touted (BRI) has come under criticism at the annual political sessions of the country, a rare dissent in China's one party political system, according to a media report Wednesday.

The annual sessions of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People's Conference (NPC) began on March 3 and due to end on March 15.

The CPPCC consisting of over 2,000 delegates is a national advisory body with nominated representatives from various walks of life. the NPC which also has over 2,000 legislators is often regarded as rubber stamp parliament for its routine endorsement of laws and policies formulated by the ruling of (CPC).

While dissent and disagreements are a rarity in China, murmurs of criticism that too against Xi's BRI, which reportedly carries over trillion USD investment budget, surfaced during the discussions at the two sessions, Hong Kong based South Morning Post reported on Wednesday.

While the two sessions are being held in the backdrop of increasing apprehensions over the adverse impact of the ongoing trade war with the US and continued slowdown of the China's economy, a former Chinese has questioned whether it was accurate for to say in his government work report that the BRI had made "important progress" last year.

Li presented the work report to the NPC on March 5 for adoption.

"I think this evaluation may be a bit excessive," Ye said at the panel discussion which was open to foreign journalists.

"We have achieved some results and some fast developments, but it also has problems," Ye was quoted by report as saying.

The BRI, a signature strategy of Xi that aims to expand China's economic influence throughout and beyond, has been enshrined in the Constitution of the since 2017.

But it suffered some setbacks in 2018. The US is openly warning other to be cautious about involvement their involvement in the project. Some governments from to are scaling back their commitment because of debt concerns, report said.

The main criticism stems from doling out huge loans spanning to billions of US dollars to small for infrastructure development over and beyond their capacity to pay back.

too cautioned specially the neighbouring about debt traps.

Apprehensions over the huge loans grew after China acquired on a 99-year lease as a debt swap.

has protested to China over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a part of the BRI, as it traversed through Pakistan-occupied

Ye said at the panel discussion that China's cooperation with countries through had "not been as smooth [as they like to see]."

"The cooperation with some countries may not be very comprehensive, he said.

"We only have cooperation on a few specific projects. Instead of saying 'important progress', I suggest we revise it to 'cooperation areas have continued to increase," quoted him as saying.

Ye's comments came as China is getting ready to hold the second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) this year. boycotted the first BRF meet held in 2017.

Chinese told an here on March 8 that the BRF meeting to be held next month would be held on a bigger with more international participation.

Wang refuted the criticism from the US, India and several other countries that the BRI is driving smaller countries in debt traps.

The BRI is not a "debt trap" that some countries may fall into but an "economic pie" that benefits local population, Wang said.

Criticism of the biggest initiative of Xi, widely regarded as the most of China after with prospect of life long tenure in power, raised eyebrows here.

Xi who took over power in 2012 heads the CPC, the military besides the presidency.

Commenting on the rare criticism Steve Tsang, of the at the said "dissenting" views were at most a cautious expression of discomfort with policies under Xi.

Zhang Baohui, Chinese expert from Lingnan University, said is traditionally more willing to allow different views on its foreign policies in comparison with domestic

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 13 2019. 14:00 IST