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In rare dissent, BRI ‘faces criticism’ 

Beijing, March 13

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s much-touted Belt and Road Initiative (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 on 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 is 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 Communist Party of China (CPC).

While dissent and disagreements are a rarity in China, murmurs of criticism that too against Xi’s BRI, which reportedly carries over trillion dollar investment budget, surfaced during the discussions at the two sessions, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported. 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, former Chinese diplomat Ye Dabo has questioned whether it was accurate for Premier Li Keqiang 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. “We have achieved some results and some fast developments, but it also has problems,” Ye was quoted by the Post report as saying. Ye said China’s cooperation with countries through BRI had “not been as smooth (as they like to see)”. 

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