New Delhi, December 4 (IANS): The 287,000 people who live in Barbados are just the last pawns in the sights of the Beijing regime as part of its steadfast policy of world domination, the Daily Mail reported.

“Barbados became a republic this week. But more importantly, in addition to losing a monarch, the Caribbean island gained an emperor. Because, in place of Elizabeth II, a new sovereign is hiding behind the scenes: the Chinese strongman -life Xi Jinping, ”the report said.

It is also surely not a coincidence that this week, in a highly unusual intervention, MI6 chief Richard Moore issued a sharp warning about what he called “debt traps and debt traps. data “that China is lagging behind. the world.

Yet the events in Barbados are a microcosm of China’s ever-growing influence over a part of the planet – one in which British influence was once unprecedented, the Daily Mail reported.

For years, pundits have warned of Beijing’s creeping grip on poorer countries – and accused the Communist regime of locking those nations into the so-called “debt trap.”

This is best exemplified by the Belt and Road Initiative, which has seen China fund major infrastructure projects in Asia, Africa and Central Europe on seemingly tempting but punitive terms. The lesson from Barbados is that the dragon’s biggest target is the Commonwealth, according to the report.

As Britain’s global, political and economic influence wanes, the patient and cunning China fills the void – and the cooperative body that unites most of our old empire is ripe for pick. It would have seemed unthinkable just a few years ago, according to the report.

Commonwealth countries have traditionally been staunch British allies – with the memory of Imperial rule balanced by deep historical and cultural ties. In the aftermath of the Empire, Commonwealth school children studied Shakespeare, played cricket and sang “God Save the Queen”.

But decades of neglect have taken their toll. Despite its name, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has systematically neglected our old empire. Dozens of embassies and missions in Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean have closed as UK governments focused on promoting trade and investment in more promising climates, according to the report.

And so, China was able to forge its new empire – not from old-fashioned conquest, but through other tactics.

The main weapon of the Chinese imperialists – ironically given their stubborn adherence to the communist creed – is money.

Most of the Commonwealth consists of medium and small countries that are fed up with second class treatment. They want better infrastructure – ports, airports, power grids, roads, railways, water and wastewater treatment plants.

The Western-led international economic system has not provided these investments. But China offers them, built quickly and on apparently favorable terms. Beijing has spent £ 685 billion since 2005 to woo Commonwealth countries, according to an estimate by think tank Henry Jackson Society, according to the report.

Even this huge sum is insignificant for Beijing, with its limitless ambition, colossal military budget and high-tech weapons.

In poor countries that get a rough deal from the rich world, Chinese money brings weight. Spending includes £ 5 billion in five Commonwealth Caribbean countries: Barbados, Jamaica, Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda and Trinidad and Tobago, according to the report.

The cash-strapped and crime-ravaged island of Jamaica is the biggest target, benefiting from China’s £ 2 billion “investment”.

China’s advance is underway across the Commonwealth, including much larger member countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

China has also assiduously courted Nigeria, the third largest country (213 million people).

The technological conquest is also underway. In 2019, Guyana – a neighboring Commonwealth country – launched the Safe City System in its capital Georgetown, using equipment designed by Beijing-sponsored telecommunications giant Huawei. This includes facial recognition technology of the type used to suppress Uyghurs and other Muslims in western China. Similar technology is used in Dominica, also a Commonwealth country, according to the report.

These sinister systems are the backbone of China’s home surveillance state. Used abroad, they allow the regime to collect data from foreigners, the report adds.

Military influence is also growing. A newspaper from Fiji, another Commonwealth of Nations, revealed in April that China had trained Fiji’s two most senior officers.

China has also established the Namibia Staff School and trains Sri Lankan soldiers. Cameroon and Rwanda in Africa, as well as Guyana in South America, are other African Commonwealth countries receiving Chinese military training. China forms Kenya’s National Paramilitary Youth Service and sponsors a “political-military school” in Uganda, the Daily Mail reported.

These “debt and data traps”, combined with China’s military influence, represent nothing less than a reshuffle of the world map, the report added.

And all that diplomatic weight is, naturally, pulling the Commonwealth countries that once reliably sided with Britain.

In a recent UN vote on Hong Kong, China received support from 53 states, including Papua New Guinea and Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth countries that still have the Queen at their helm. of State.

Other Commonwealth members who voted to support Beijing included Sierra Leone, Zambia, Lesotho, Cameroon and Mozambique – all Commonwealth countries that have benefited from Chinese aid and investment, the report said. Daily Mail.