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The Human Toll Of China’s Belt And Road – The White Elephant, Part 3

The third installment of a classic David vs. Goliath story … where the damage has already been done and there is no giant left to kill.

Kristang Portuguese fisherman
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This is the story of how the Kristang Portuguese of Melaka — who are the direct descendants of the original Portuguese conquistadors 500 years ago — are opposing a failed, China-backed Belt and Road project that has destroyed their local maritime ecosystem and made their lives as fishermen vastly more challenging.

All up and down the Belt and Road there are failed projects where the promise of modernity, economic progress, and jobs never materialize and the local people are left with degraded ecosystems, a loss of otherwise usable land, and eyesores in the form of half-finished construction projects, chainlink fences around fields of nothing, or, as is the case of the subject of this film, sterile slabs of reclaimed land. It is easy for us to laugh at the Belt and Road and mock its failures, but there are entire communities all over the world who are paying the toll.

Watch the first two parts of the White Elephant

Part one:

Part two:



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Filed under: Documentaries, Filmmaking, Malaysia

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3691 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: Trenton, Maine

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