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Almost Every Major Kenyan Newspaper Published Column by Chinese Ambassador That Refutes Debt Trap Accusation

Headlines from major Kenyan newspapers. They all published the same column by Chinese Ambassador Zhou Pingjian that refuted allegations of predatory lending.

An unusual phenomenon occurred in Kenya over the past few days: the country’s normally competitive newspapers all ran the same column written by China’s envoy to Nairobi, Zhou Pingjian. Normally, newspapers insist on exclusivity when publishing columns like this. While we have no proof, it’s possible that the embassy paid the various publications to run the column — as is common practice in Kenya and other African countries.

In the column, Zhou forcefully pushed back against the widely-circulated accusation that China engages in predatory lending practices in Kenya and other developing countries. This narrative alleges that China intentionally loads up borrowers on unsustainable amounts of debt in order to seize strategic assets in lieu of repayment.

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