The Malaysian Prime Minister warns the Philippines About bad Chinese Money Is this the beginning of a new era in the South China Sea? This is China Uncensored. I’m Chris Chappell. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest China news, and click the notification bell icon. That way, you get an alert each time we publish a new episode. The Philippines. One of my favorite places in Southeast Asia. Mostly because of the food. Last week, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad made a state visit to The Philippines. “We also discussed on economic matters the trade between both countries are increasing, but they are largely in favor of Malaysia. I believe there is still room for improvement and from my meeting with Mr. President (Rodrigo
Duterte), we would encourage private sectors from both
countries to explore opportunities of collaboration
and venture in new cooperation and investments.” But while Mahathir was trying to warm ties between Malaysia and the Philippines, he had a word of warning about another country—China. Speaking to a Filipino news network, Mahathir
said, “If you borrow huge sums of money from China, and then you cannot pay, when the person is a borrower he is under the control of the lender. So, we have to be very careful about that.” I’m sure he wasn’t talking about any borrower
in particular. He just said, “Countries *like* the Philippines should ‘regulate or limit influences from
China.’” You know, so these borrowers don’t get Sri
Lanka’d. See, in 2008, Sri Lanka began construction of a deep water container port, funded by Chinese loans. Ten years later, when Sri Lanka couldn’t pay the loans back, China forced Sri Lanka to give them the port on a 99-year lease. A port that could someday become an ideal
naval base. To be used against no country in particular. How does Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir know so much about the Chinese regime using debt to trap other countries into making
bad deals— that is, “debt trap diplomacy”? Well, Malaysia was almost a victim of it. Malaysia’s previous Prime Minister— who was massively corrupt, by the way— secured $34 billion dollars worth of Chinese-funded infrastructure projects. Those included a Chinese state-owned company buying a 40% stake in a deep water shipping port near Kuantan. The Communist Party does love its ports. It was going to be a key part of the Chinese Communist Party’s Belt and Road
Initiative. That’s a global network of trade routes and infrastructure projects that China is
creating, and that basically drive debt trap diplomacy. Or as the Chinese state-run media likes to
call it, win-win cooperation. Because no matter what happens, China wins! Until Mahathir Mohamad took the 2018 election in his own surprise win. That happened after the massive corruption of the previous Prime Minister had been exposed. Corruption that the Chinese regime had agreed to help him cover up, in exchange for Belt and Road deals. What’s a few billion dollars between friends? Well, a few billion dollars plus illegally spying on journalists. Unsurprisingly, Mahathir made Chinese infrastructure projects and influence a key issue in his
campaign. “None of our people are employed as workers. None of our companies are used for designing and planning and supervising, et cetera. We gain nothing.” And since Mahathir took office, he has been negotiating or canceling what he thinks are unfair Chinese infrastructure
deals. For example, he’s renegotiated a $20 billion
dollar rail link. And completely scrapped Chinese-backed oil
and gas pipelines. That was a big hiccup in the Chinese regime’s plans for control of Southeast Asia. And now Mahathir is encouraging Philippine president Duterte to do the same. Kind of like your friend warning you against dating his crazy ex. But how many of us actually listen to that
friend? Before Duterte was elected in 2016, China and the Philippines had been in a standoff over territorial disputes in the South China
Sea. But Duterte decided to set those disputes
aside. Instead, he focused on an ambitious 180 billion
dollar project he creatively called “Build, Build, Build.” But the problem was money money money. And that opened the door to Chinese investment. “In 2016, Duterte secured $24 billion in
investment, credit and loan pledges from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government to upgrade his country’s infrastructure.” According to the London-based think tank Capital
Economics, corruption problems are a part of Chinese
investments, and the Philippines already has a trade imbalance approaching unsustainable levels— meaning it imports way more than it exports. And so Mahathir told Duterte, you know, countries who take out big Chinese loans, I’m not naming names here, but maybe they should be careful. Fortunately for The Philippines, China has been a bit slow about making good
on that 24 billion dollars they pledged to upgrade infrastructure. And the Philippine Finance Secretary says the Philippines will definitely, never ever get caught in a Chinese debt trap. I mean sure, it happened to Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Montenegro, The Maldives, Djibouti and a bunch of other countries, but it will never happen to the Philippines! That’s true…if they don’t take too much
Chinese money. Either way, though, there’s another aspect
of the Chinese regime’s debt trap diplomacy Mahathir also warned about — too many Chinese workers. He said, “Foreign direct investment should not involve bringing huge numbers of foreigners to live in the country because that might disturb the political equations in the country.” In other words, these foreigners are taking our jobs! Somehow it sounds so different coming out of the mouth of a 93-year-old doctor. Since Duterte took office in 2016, somewhere between 2 and 3 hundred thousand Chinese workers have come to the Philippines. The population has basically tripled. Chinese nationals now get more than half the working visas granted by the Philippines, and the majority of special work permits. And a lot of them work in online casinos. Which is…a very interesting career choice. Plus, a lot of Chinese workers are in the Philippines illegally. Recently the government has been conducting mass raids. And Mahathir said, “If huge numbers of any foreigners come to live and stay in the country or even to influence economy, then you have to do some rethinking, whether it is good or bad or the limits that we have to impose on them.” You know, any foreigners, not from any country in particular. But for China, Mahathir threw a major wrench in the communist regime’s plan to use debt trap diplomacy in Malaysia. And if he’s now becoming a rallying point for other southeast Asian nations to abandon China’s version of so-called “win-win cooperation,” it might just become a lose-lose scenario for the Chinese Communist Party. Which I’m torn about, because I don’t believe in no-win scenarios. But Mahathir didn’t stop at economics. He also called out China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Trillions of dollars of shipping goes through
it, along with untapped oil and natural gas deposits. China claims basically all of it. Obviously that competes with claims by both the Philippines and Malaysia. As I’ve said, Duterte has mostly backed
down, even though the Philippines had the strongest
claim after a ruling from the Hague rejected China’s claim in favor of theirs. But while Mahathir was in the Philippines, he said China should define its so-called ownership of the South China Sea. While also saying he’d be totally fine with
China’s claims, as long as they basically take no action on
it. But somehow, I don’t imagine the Chinese Communist Party will be too agreeable about owning something without controlling it. They’re not great at letting go. Just ask Hong Kong. So, what do you think of Mahathir’s message to the Philippines? Leave your comments below. And before you go, now is the time I answer a question from a member of the China Uncensored 50-Cent
Army— fans who support the show with a dollar or
more per episode through the crowd funding website Patreon. Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe asks, “China’s working age population has already
peaked and is expected to fall by 23% by 2050. Why did it take so long for CCP to ditch its
one-child policy when the long-term devastating effects it
would have on China’s economy and ambitions as a world
power have been obvious for some time now?” Very good question, Sir Wilfred… which is definitely your actual name. Well, on the surface, the One Child Policy was about making sure China’s population didn’t grow too fast. But birth rates were already falling before
it even started. So why even have the One Child Policy? Because underneath, there were even more benefits to implementing a policy of massive top-down control. The One Child Policy gave the Party an excuse to put a whole new level of monitoring into
place. Employers were literally required to monitor women’s menstruation cycles. As you can imagine, that level of bureaucracy created lots of
jobs! Plus, local officials could also make money
off of fining people who violated the policy. Like, you didn’t register with the authorities before getting pregnant. Doesn’t matter if it’s your first kid. Pay up or get dragged to the forced abortion
van. And another benefit was controlling the masses by making them control each other. For example, if a woman violated the policy, everyone in her factory or work group would
be punished. So now you have people watching and reporting
on each other. And local officials would also be punished if their area went over their population quotas. Hence, the forced abortion van. Now, the examples I gave didn’t happen everywhere, because, like a lot of the Party’s top-down control, it was unevenly enforced. But I think you get the gist. The One Child Policy was a massive intrusion by the state into the fundamental level of
society: the family. And even through it  wasn’t necessary for controlling population growth, it was great at controlling the population. So the One Child Policy makes sense… in a sort of, evil authoritarian kind of way. That’s why— when they ended the One Child Policy in 2015— they simply replaced it with an equally authoritarian Two Child Policy. Of course it turns out, the results of their disastrous policies are now threatening the entire country. But I’m sure that’s nothing a *new* type of massive state control can’t
fix. Thanks for your question. If you’d like to hear your question answered
on the show, sign up to support China Uncensored on the crowd funding website Patreon. It’s less than the cost of your daily cup
of coffee. Thanks for watching this episode of China
Uncensored. Once again I’m Chris Chappell, see you next time!