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Debunking the U.S.-Led “Chinese Debt Trap” Narrative… Again

Acclaimed China-Africa scholar Deborah Bräutigam together with Harvard Business School professor Meg Rithmire published a detailed takedown in The Atlantic magazine of the U.S.-led “debt trap” narrative that remains a bedrock belief among large swathes of official Washington.

The two researchers didn’t mince words and called the accusation that China is lending unsustainable amounts of money to poor developing countries with an eye on seizing assets and influence when they inevitably default, a “myth.” The pair singled out the infamous Hambantota Port case in Sri Lanka as a case in point:

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What is The China-Global South Project?


The China-Global South Project is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Global South stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalists and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Global South discourse.


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