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Why China wants to dock submarines in Colombo and deploy fighter jets in Tibet?

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By Harshmeet Singh

Over the past couple of decades, China’s growing territorial aspirants in South East Asia have made as many global headlines as its swiftly growing economy. China’s frequent expeditions in the Western Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea have been a sore in the eye of a number of smaller nations in the region. While China’s naval adventures haven’t given too much headache to the Indian Government till now, China’s stand on Tibet and Arunachal Pradesh have ensured that Hindi-Chini bhai bhai slogan remains a distant realization. It is China’s growing threat that has forced India to become the world’s largest arms importer, with an expenditure of 2.6% (2014) of its entire GDP.

The border dilemma

For the two countries sharing the largest disputed border in the world, India and China have shown commendable restrain of violence since the 1962 war. Barring some random controversies erupting from erroneous maps and stapled visa issues, the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has seen relative peace.

Tibet – core issue for China

In 1914, the representatives from Tibet, British India and China sat down to sign an agreement in order to mark clear boundaries distinguishing India, Tibet and China. According to the Simla Convention, China was to be given control over Inner part of Tibet, while the Outer Tibet was to be recognized as an autonomous area under the Dalai Lama.

Britain, on its part, pledged to restrain itself from any interference in Dalai Lama’s Tibet. But before the agreement was inked, Britain claimed Tawang (South Tibet – Now in Arunachal Pradesh), which irked China to such an extent that it boycotted the convention and the final agreement was signed only between Tibet and British India.

China, never a party to the final agreement, still claims rights over Tawang (which led to the 1962 war). After the Chinese army invaded Tibet in 1950, Dalai Lama was forced to take exile at Dharmshala, India. Due to China’s growing global stature, its atrocities in Tibet have always been given a blind eye by the world leaders.

Deployment of Su-27 fighters at Tibet

China’s move to station Su-27 fighters at its Tibet military base in 2013 raised quite a few eye-brows around the world. Many experts considered it as China’s response to India stationing its Su-30MKI fighters at Tezpur in Assam. With a combat radius of close to 1,000 km, India’s fighters were well equipped to strike the Mainland Chinese territories. With a growing firepower at its all weather military base in Tibet, China’s threat to Indian skies can’t be undermined anytime soon.

Growing bonhomie between China & Sri Lanka

A $ 1.5 billion project for the construction of the Colombo port city was awarded to the China Communications Construction Ltd. by the Rajapaksa Government before it was oust in the recent elections. With China’s growing influence in the island nation getting evident, India has a lot on its plate to worry about. China’s recent move to dock its nuclear submarine at the Colombo port didn’t help the already delicate Indo China relations either. Sri Lanka, on its part, reiterates its ‘No pro China. No pro India’ stand. Though the Lankan Government’s decision to halt the ongoing Colombo port city project would give some breathing space to India, a permanent solution to India’s fears still remains invisible.

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Chinese Police Catches Hold of $1.5 Billion Money in Online Lending Scandal

The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved.

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Chinese policemen watch as depositors from Ezubao gather outside the State Bureau for Letters and Calls Reception Division office in Beijing, Jan. 1, 2016. China's policy ministry says it investigated 380 online lenders following an avalanche of scandals. VOA

Chinese police have investigated 380 online lenders and frozen $1.5 billion in assets following an avalanche of scandals in the huge but lightly regulated industry, the government announced Monday.

Beijing allowed a private finance industry to flourish in order to supply credit to entrepreneurs and households that aren’t served by the state-run banking system. But that threatens to become a liability for the ruling Communist Party after bankruptcies and fraud cases prompted protests and complaints of official indifference to small investors.

The police ministry said it launched the investigation because person-to-person, or P2P, lending was increasingly risky and rife with complaints about fraud, mismanagement and waste.

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The police ministry said it launched the investigation because person-to-person, or P2P, lending was increasingly risky and rife with complaints about fraud, mismanagement and waste. Pixabay

The ministry gave no details of arrests but said more than 100 executives were being sought by investigators and some had fled abroad. It said authorities seized or froze 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) but gave no indication how much might be returned to depositors.

Police say some lenders and investment vehicles were brazenly fraudulent, while others collapsed after inexperienced founders failed to manage risk.

Monday’s statement said P2P lenders were investigated for complaints including wasting money, reporting phony investment plans and using illegal tactics to raise money.

Lending through online platforms grew by triple digits annually until 2017 when regulators tightened controls.

Depositors lent 1.9 trillion yuan ($280 billion) last year, but that was down by 50 percent from 2017, according to the Shenzhen Qiancheng Internet Finance Research Institute.

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The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved. Pixabay

The outstanding loan balance stood at 1.2 trillion yuan ($177 billion) at the end of 2018, down 25 percent from a year earlier, according to Diyi Wangdai, a web site that reports on the industry.

P2P lenders are part of a privately run Chinese finance industry the national bank regulator estimated in 2015 had grown to $1.5 trillion.

The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved.

Many lend to factories and retailers or invest in restaurants, car washes and other businesses. But inexperience and poor risk control means a downturn in business conditions can bankrupt them.

Also Read: Sales of Smart Feature Phones Expected To Be About $28 Billion Over Next Three Years

Finance as a whole has come under tougher scrutiny after a 2015 plunge in stock prices led to accusations of insider trading and other offenses.

In one of China’s biggest financial scams, authorities say depositors lost 50 billion yuan ($7.7 billion) in online lender Ezubo before it was seized by regulators in 2015.

The founder and his brother were sentenced to life in prison in 2017. (VOA)