On 3-5rd September this year the BRICS will hold a summit in Xiamen. BRICS is an acronym for five developing/newly industrialized countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Since its 6th summit, the BRICS have founded the New Development Bank which will focus on lending for infrastructure projects.
Both domestically and regionally the BRICS regimes do not offer good examples of alternatives which put people first. Instead of offering an alternative, the BRICS actually offer a continuation to neo-liberalism.
On top of BRICS there is also China’s new mega project, the One Belt One Road initiative (OBOR). Its main purpose is to export China’s surplus capital, and in this process seek the cooperation and “mutual benefit” of big foreign TNCs and regimes which are often authoritarian. One Belt One Road passes through some of the world’s most unstable areas, creating problems such as terrorism, civil war, border conflict and so on. The price of these investments is often borne by the working people and the ecological balance in each of the countries concerned. Following the examples of EU/US/Japanese TNCs, Chinese investments will also lead to serious long term problems for local people, especially debt problems. What makes it worse is that there is little transparency and accountability about the BRICS and OBOR projects.
It is time for Chinese and international civil societies to meet and discuss the impact of BRICS and OBOR. We therefore hope to take advantage of the BRICS summit in September to hold a meeting of civil society to discuss the impact of these forms of trans-regional economic integration on people and the environment, and to consider countermeasures.
A coalition of local organizations have decided to make this meeting happen, and we would like to invite you and your organizations to join us in Hong Kong in early September. We will confirm logistical arrangements later.
Confederation of Trade Unions
Editorial Board of Borderless Movement
Justice & Peace Commission of the HK Catholic Diocese
Labor Education Support Network
Labor Committee of Neighborhood and Workers’ Service Centre