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Chinese Diplomats in Nigeria, South Africa Mount Counterattack To U.S.-Led Predatory Lending Accusations

China's Deputy Chief of Mission at the embassy in South Africa, Li Nan, at a recent online conference organized by the South African Institute of International Affairs.

Two senior-level Chinese diplomats in Africa are speaking out against U.S.-led accusations that Beijing engages in predatory lending on the continent, or “debt trap” diplomacy. In separate appearances, Chu Maoming, the consul general in Lagos, Nigeria, and Li Nan, the deputy chief of mission (DCM) at the embassy in South Africa, both presented rare public defenses of China’s lending practices on the continent.

In an interview with Nigeria’s Guardian newspaper, Chu largely used the same talking points as those conveyed last week by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian when he issued what’s become the pro forma denial that China intentionally loads up countries with unsustainable levels of debt with an eye on seizing strategic assets upon an inevitable default.

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