China quietly seeks influence from disaster in Brazil – Asia Times

China quietly seeks influence from disaster in Brazil - Asia Times

More than a million people have been forced to leave their homes as a result of the devastating storms that have erupted in Rio Grande do Sul, southwestern Brazil, since late April, and at least 150 people have died as a result. &nbsp,

The storms destroyed billions of dollars worth of property, and much of&nbsp, Porto Alegre, the state’s money and one of the largest cities in South America. Smaller places in Northern&nbsp, Uruguay and Argentina&nbsp, were also affected by the economic crisis. &nbsp,

Rio Grande do Sul has received a lot of international support, including from foreign governments, and organizations, and the Portuguese federal government has provided emergency funding for state reaction and prevention assistance. China has been one of the nations at the vanguard of the global funding efforts to stop the flooding.

The BRICS New Development Bank ( BND), led by former Brazilian president and close Lula aide Dilma Rousseff, gave&nbsp, US$ 1.1 billion &nbsp, to help with reconstruction efforts.

Rousseff said,” I want to let Rio Grande do Sul residents know that they can depend on me and the BND during this difficult day.” Apparently, she and Lula have been immediately coordinating the support work. With a majority of the money coming from the People’s Republic of China, the BND has its headquarters in Shanghai. &nbsp,

In Brazil, the Chinese community likewise provided humanitarian aid in response to the storms. In Brasilia, the region’s capital city, a Taiwanese group team organized a package of essential items to those affected. They&nbsp, donated&nbsp, 1, 000 pots of packaged water, along with 1, 100 boxes of important items.

Li Hongzhong, the second vice president of the National People’s Congress, gave a little conversation at the Chinese Embassy to support the payment. The Chinese Community of São Paulo even raised&nbsp, 60 tons&nbsp, of gifts of food and supplies for Rio Grande do Sul, with support from condition government officials. &nbsp,

While it’s unclear whether the Chinese govt is directly responsible for these gifts, the Chinese authorities, in particular the ministries of international affairs and state protection, has been actively using Chinese communities in Latin America to spread its interests and effect while keeping tabs on Chinese citizens at the same time by monitoring them at foreign police stations.

The first vice president reiterated that Brazil’s Chinese group donated about$ 1 million to help with the flood, adding that China is condolenced, grieving, and showing support for the injured, the sufferers of the rain, and the affected area’s population.

Li assured Li that China would assist him as needed and that he had confidence in Lula’s authority. Also, the Lula government has expressed&nbsp, cooperation with China&nbsp, over the flood in Southern China.

Brazil has previously experienced charitable and climate disasters, and China has done so before. Brazil has received billions of dollars in money, funding, and technical assistance from the Chinese authorities to better plan for catastrophe. &nbsp,

In April, Chinese state- owned company State Grid Corporation of China promised to provide more than$ 40 billion to Brazil to strengthen its&nbsp, electrical grid, partly in response to disasters. In 2022, Taiwanese firms rushed to help the town of&nbsp, Petrópolis&nbsp, after it was devastated by flooding and landslides that killed at least 231 individuals. &nbsp,

Both China and Brazil are experiencing previous flood. Brazil has been advocating for China’s concept of” sponge cities” with basins designed to store heavy rain as a policy option.

However, the flow of Foreign aid to Rio Grande do Sul has largely been unfavorable. No significant Portuguese or international press shop covered China’s work. The biggest source of information about China’s attempts was Brasil de Fato, a paper mostly associated with President Lula and the remaining in Brazil. &nbsp,

According to Mauricio Santoro, Professor and Head of the State University of Rio de Janeiro’s Department of International Relations, “left-wing sites gave a little more room to China, as part of a view that emphasizes the importance of the Worldwide South in Brazilian foreign plan.”

Xinhua Net&nbsp, and another Chinese propaganda outlets even shared very little, under- promoted summaries. &nbsp, CGTN, a state- work TV and web outlet, even did not mention any of China’s philanthropic efforts in Rio Grande do Sul in its reporting. &nbsp, &nbsp,

Despite China having a lot of influence over the BND’s revenue and activities, no one reported that the Chinese and Portuguese governments had been directed at China. When the BND was created in 2014, it was hailed by China experts as a resource for China ‘s&nbsp, economic diplomacy.

The lack of public opinion and state advertising may be a few believable reasons for China’s charitable initiatives in Rio Grande do Sul.

Santoro spoke to these factors, stating that “humanitarian aid to Rio Grande do Sul has become a controversial topic in Brazil, part of the country’s political polarization, with the government and opposition accusing each other of incompetence, negligence, hindering volunteers, and so on” .&nbsp,

Santoro added that” China aid has not yet become a part of the discussion, but this could occur, as has already happened with Elon Musk’s ( Starlink network ) aid to Rio Grande do Sul.” Elon Musk is currently stuck in a feud against the&nbsp, Brazilian Supreme Court&nbsp, over the legal body’s order that X ( formerly Twitter ) ban several accounts.

Although China’s advertising efforts are essentially untapped financially, it seems as though the decision to ignore Rio Grande do Sul’s support may have been made in vain. Due to being perceived as very enmeshed, both the Taiwanese authorities and the Lula administration are at a specific political cost.

Lula has received more scrutiny for being too “pro-china,” in a nation that has traditionally been seen as a part of US foreign policy, probably since the Cold War. An augmented advertising plan that supports the philanthropic work might have a negative impact. &nbsp,

Santoro added that” the Portuguese press has not received a lot of attention on the issue of foreign aid, primarily because the focus is on Rio Grande do Sul conflict between the federal government and local specialists.”

With little media coverage, the aid would pass through the BND and the Chinese community, which would reduce any political ill will while preserving diplomatic relationships and responding to real native needs.

By promoting the initiative as a victory to a receptive audience at Brasil de Fato and Agência Brazil, the Lula management strengthens his domestic political bottom without drawing little support from the proper wing. China probably understood this and used a tactful public relations approach to maintain a low profile while achieving its goals. &nbsp,

Given the shifting degree of acceptance of Chinese influence in the region, it remains to be seen whether China will adopt a more aggressive media strategy in Latin America in the future.

Joseph Bouchard, a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst based in the Quebec City, Canada, is an independent journalist and geopolitical analyst based in the area.