Belt & Road News Digest : April 2016

Belt & Road News Digest : April 2016

Categories: News

Hong Kong

Image Source: Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery | 12th Apr, 2016
Hong Kong Opened First B&R Themed Art Exhibition

Organized by the Hong Kong Federation of Women and curated by Pansy Ho, the “One Belt One Road Visual Arts Exhibition 2016” was held at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery between 12th to 16th this month.

Works exhibited were by renowned female artists originated from various countries and regions along the Belt & Road, including Russia, Iran, Poland, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Hong Kong and more. The exhibition aimed at showing women’s unique perspective and sensitivity, and to provoke thoughts on influence brought on to the society by the Belt & Road initiative.

Since the Belt & Road is also an initiative that promotes collaboration and development on different aspects and levels among different places, Pansy Ho hopes to advocate communication between Hong Kong and Belt & Road regions that is outside the economic field, just as how the ancient Silk Road was able to enhance cultural development in various areas in the past.

Image Source: Pixabay

Government HQ, Legislative Council | 27th Apr, 2016

Hong Kong Students To Benefit from Amended B&R Scholarship Fund

The government is currently suggesting to make changes to the $1 billion scholarship fund announced in the Policy Address earlier. Apart from giving financial support for students from the B&R countries and regions to study in Hong Kong, the new amended scheme would also allow qualified Hong Kong students to apply for studying abroad in the Belt & Road.

Details of the new scheme are still under discussion, and will be submitted to LegCo’s Education Panel in June for deliberation.

South East Asia

Image Source: Pixabay

Sri Lanka | 11th Apr, 2016

Colombo City Port Project Back On Track After Wickremesinghe’s Visit to China

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe started his very first state visit in presidency to China on 6th April. Apart from signing several agreement deals, both countries reached to a consensus on resuming the Port City Project that had been on hold for a year.

Apart from these, Wickremesinghe also suggested selling stakes of Sri Lankan firms to Chinese government in return for canceling some of its US$8 billion debt to the middle country.

The Port City Project was suspended last year as the Sri Lankan government requested a review on the project contract. Wickremesinghe had demonstrated a tough attitude towards China since candidacy to becoming new president. His visit to China had sparked surprise and controversies back home.  

Image Source: Pixabay

Singapore | 27th Apr, 2016

CCB Signed S$30bn MOU with International Enterprise Singapore

China Construction Bank signed a MOU on B&R infrastructure strategic partnership with the International Enterprise Singapore 2 days ago. The state-owned CCB will use Singapore as a platform to provide financial support and related professional services worth S$30 billion to Chinese and Singaporean companies engaged in infrastructure projects along the Belt & Road.

Also, CCB and Singapore Exchange also inked a MOU. Both parties agreed to cooperate and assist Chinese and Singaporean companies in IPO, M&A, bond financing, cross-border asset management etc.


What We Think:

When presented with the newly revised B&R scholarship fund, some doubted if local students or their parents would forego places like UK, US, Australia and Canada, but pick other places in B&R as choice for further education. Of course this is not a concern coming out of the blue. In reality, if one gets to choose, how many parents would encourage their children to go somewhere less developed for school when they’re given the chance to join the Ivy League? Not to mention there’s the ultimate barrier of language, that their children may not even be able to understand a thing at lectures. But after all, policies are something that should go through improving and perfecting. Instead of complete rejection, maybe it’s also a good idea to look for some constructive ways for a better policy.

It is a fact that Hong Kong citizens feel very distant from many countries in the Belt & Road, not to mention looking for education in those areas. If this is the status quo, why not change the tactic, transform some parts of the scholarship fund into study tours, and encourage more students visit different areas in B&R at a short term basis to start off with? First have them broaden their horizon and experiences at the B&R, arouse their interests and knowledge in these areas. When one is intrigued, self-initiated exchange and communication will happen very naturally.

Take the art exhibition organized by the Hong Kong Federation of Women. It is way more effective to promote the Belt & Road to the general citizens using ways outside the commercial scope than using all different sorts of data and yet-to-be-achieved visions. In addition, the B&R is also about enhancing cultural exchange in the first place.

Using a more flexible way to think of ways for reaching a certain goal is also an art. Maybe the government should work more with social organizations and SME, promote and advertise about the Belt & Road to HK citizens using various approaches that are less rigid but more human.