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在线翻译:
szdaily -> In depth
Belt and Road brings changes to lives 
    2017-May-9  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Editor’s note: The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will convene in Beijing from May 14 to 15, with the aim of strengthening partnership on the Belt and Road Initiative and advancing international cooperation for development. More than three years after being proposed in 2013, the initiative, which envisions a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa, has borne rich fruit. Here we look at some of the stories and highlights of the early achievements under the initiative.

A LAOTIAN girl missing teeth, a dropout in Cambodia, or a Syrian man in war-torn Aleppo ... On the surface, they appear to have little in common. But their lives have become entwined along the Belt and Road in a way they could have never imagined.

China proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013 with the aim of building infrastructure and trade networks to lift villages, towns, cities and countries out of poverty and bring more prosperity to wealthier jurisdictions along its path. The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road are expected to connect countries and peoples in Asia, Africa and Europe along ancient trade routes.

New teeth, new well

Grinning no longer embarrasses Anuo, who now has her two front teeth back. Smiling and laughter has returned to the 12-year-old Laotian girl.

“I look much happier when I laugh now,” said Anuo, who lives in Hakai by the Nam Mang river.

More than three years ago, she lost half an upper fore tooth during a struggle with a catfish caught by her uncle. Another tooth was lost when she fell on the muddy road following a downpour.

The loose, fragile and yellow teeth of the locals are largely blamed on the turbid, smelly water drawn from the only well during a drought. What’s worse, the amount of water was insufficient for the village.

However, a tremendous change came when the Chinese company building the Nam Mang River 1 Hydropower Station dug a new well, along with improving the village’s major road free of charge.

More of a surprise for Anuo was the free physical examinations for the villagers arranged by Dongfang Electric Corp. It was then when Anuo received her new front teeth. “The fish mom cooks on drought days tastes equally good now,” Anuo says.

Like Anuo, many others are benefiting from Belt and Road projects. Dongfang Electric completed the Nam Mang river power project in 2016.

A path through war

The road from war-torn Aleppo to the port city of Latakia in Northwest Syria was rough with bumps and hollows, with a truck dilapidated with bullet holes and shrapnel scratches, and a driver who couldn’t be more prepared for any emergency situation.

Suddenly, a shell blew up by the road. Ameer Anis, 32, made a sudden dodge to escape death. He remembers how lucky he was that the truck remained in good condition along with his cargo, nearly a ton of solidly-packed soaps he helped make.

The road was really tough, but was not tougher than the life Anis and other Syrian families were leading amid a war.

These Aleppo olive soaps of traditional Syrian craftsmanship were bound for Tianjin some 7,000 km away. Li Jianwei, a Chinese businessman based in the port city some 120 km southeast of the Chinese capital Beijing, made this order and many others before.

Li found the Aleppo handmade soap during a trip to Syria in 2000, and has since been a fan. An experience of buying fakes in 2015 prompted him to import the real thing from its home for online sale.

From Tianjin’s Haihe River to the Bohai Sea, down to the East China Sea, the South China Sea, and via the Strait of Malacca, further to the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and to Latakia by the Mediterranean, stretches a route of the ancient maritime Silk Road.

Soap orders from China have kept the Anis brothers from fleeing home.

A language for change

Life took a drastic turn when a serious disease hit Cambodian girl Chamraeun Sreytouch and forced the top student out of middle school for five years. It also deprived her family of an economic well-being.

However, life changed when she took her father’s advice to study at a Chinese language elementary school in the countryside of her hometown Kandal Province. She was not fully recovered but felt heavily obligated to make money to support the family. Many Chinese people have come over to open factories, and doing translation work for them would be a decent job, her elderly father said.

Life again changed from that point on. Learning Chinese was fun and brought hope to the young Khmer lady. She was led to further study at the well-known Duan Hua (Toun Fa) Chinese School based in the capital Phnom Penh, and later at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Because of her academic excellence, she was given the opportunity to complete her last two years of college studying at Dali University in southwest China’s Yunnan Province.

Chamraeun then had an idea. Why not help more Cambodians learn Chinese to improve their chances at a better life? After graduation, she opened the Pei De Chinese Language School in her hometown. With a desire to continue learning herself, the headmistress is now a student at the Confucius Institute in Phnom Penh with the aim of going to China for graduate studies.

She could have ended up either working in a factory or a restaurant, she says. Instead, she’s one of more than 5 million registered students at more than 1,500 Confucius Institutes and Classrooms in 140 countries around the world.

A shift to pen with yet sword

For Timur Katayamovich Kuvatov, practicing two hours of Chinese kung fu has long been a daily routine as well as providing stress relief from his work as president and editor-in-chief of the Kazakhstan Today news agency.

Kuvatov made a name for himself winning medals in martial arts competitions in Kazakhstan, Asia and the world, and as chief coach of the national martial arts team.

Kuvatov made a career shift amid the economic aftermath of Kazak independence from the Soviet Union. He quickly rose through the ranks of the news business. But for Kuvatov, the practice of kung fu proved to be his real passion, and he longed to advance his skills.

In his late 40s, Kuvatov decided to begin learning Chinese in order to better understand China’s culture and the roots of kung fu. “Kung fu is not only a sport, but also a philosophy,” he says.

In recent years, Kuvatov has witnessed more of his friends traveling to China and more Chinese travelers and enterprises coming to Kazakhstan. He believes the Belt and Road Initiative, of which Kazakhstan is a participant, will lead to increased bilateral exchanges. (Xinhua)

Achievements

Investment & trade

• Since 2013, China has invested more than US$50 billion in countries along the Belt and Road. In 2016 alone, direct investment reached US$14.5 billion, or 8.5 percent of China’s total outbound investment.

• China signed US$126 billion worth of new contracts for projects in countries along the Belt and Road in 2016, up 36 percent year on year.

• China’s trade with countries along the Belt and Road rose 0.5 percent year on year to 6.25 trillion yuan (US$906.3 billion) in 2016, compared with a 0.9-percent decline in the country’s overall foreign trade.

Capacity cooperation

• As of the end of 2016, Chinese businesses had built 56 economic and trade cooperation zones in more than 20 countries along the Belt and Road, with the total investment exceeding US$18.5 billion, generating nearly US$1.1 billion in tax revenue and creating nearly 180,000 local jobs.

• China has industrial capacity cooperation systems with nearly 20 countries. Notably, China and Kazakhstan have signed 51 major cooperation projects worth US$27 billion.

Connectivity progress

• China has signed more than 130 bilateral and regional transport agreements with countries involved in the Belt and Road to improve connectivity.

• China-Europe express freight trains have covered 28 cities in 11 European countries since being launched in 2011. More than 3,500 trips have been made so far, and the figure is planned to be risen to 5,000 a year by 2020.

• The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, one of the six economic corridors envisaged by the Belt and Road Initiative, has seen rapid progress, with major highway, railway and port projects under way.

• Construction has started or neared completion on other large transport infrastructure projects along the Belt and Road, including the Colombo Port City and Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka, the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway in Indonesia and the Mombasa-Nairobi railway in Kenya.

Financial support

• China has contributed US$40 billion to set up a Silk Road Fund to finance Belt and Road projects. The fund has launched its first round of investment, with US$5.3 billion already allocated.

• The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was established in 2015 to fund infrastructure improvement in Asia, with an authorized capital of US$100 billion. The multilateral development bank’s total lending exceeds US$2 billion so far.

Consensus building

• Over 100 countries and international organizations have responded warmly to the Belt and Road Initiative, with more than 40 signing a total of over 50 agreements of cooperation with China.

• Many countries and regions along the Belt and Road have considered integrating the initiative with their own development programs, including Mongolia’s Prairie Road, Kazakhstan’s Nurly Zhol (Bright Path), the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union and the E.U.’s Junker Investment Plan.

• The United Nations General Assembly and the U.N. Security Council have incorporated the initiative into their resolutions.

Cultural exchanges

• As of the end of 2016, China had signed more than 300 inter-governmental agreements and implementation programs on cultural exchanges and cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road. Altogether 11 Chinese cultural centers have been established in these countries.

• China has set up an official Silk Road scholarship and held cultural events and art festivals with Belt and Road countries.

• The ancient Silk Road was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2014, and a joint application has been started for the inclusion of the Maritime Silk Road. (Xinhua)

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