Montenegro, China, and the Media: A Highway to Disinformation?
Laure Deron, Thierry Pairault, and Paola Pasquali
CARI Briefing Paper, n° 7, 2021

CARI Note: How do Chinese banks really lend in risky countries overseas? Although no documented cases have come to light in Africa (or elsewhere), rumors that Chinese loan contracts allow China to seize land or unrelated strategic assets, like ports, as collateral for sovereign loans are rife in African media and civil society. As part of our ongoing CARI research project on Chinese lending, we are publishing this detailed investigation by our European colleagues into similar media rumors surrounding a Chinese-financed highway in the small Eastern European nation of Montenegro. The Chinese loan contract for this highway has been available online. These scholars’ detailed examination of this case sheds light on just how reporters’ lack of understanding of common legal terms, in a context where the “China threat” narrative boosts viewership, can lead to rumors like these.

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