How China is enslaving the world: Beijing's ruthless leaders subjugate armies of foreign workers with opium, plunder resources across the globe - and now they've got Britain in their sights How China is enslaving the world: Beijing's ruthless leaders subjugate armies of foreign workers with opium, plunder resources across the globe - and now they've got Britain in their sights | Mail Online With its gold leaf and marble dÃ©cor, duplex suites, heliport and fleet of Rolls-Royces, the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai is hailed as the most luxurious in the world, a seven-star monument to wealth and extravagance. To stay there will cost you Â£2,000 a night. Just to have dinner means parting with a huge deposit per person before you even get to the table. Nor can you simply wander in off the street into the lobby to gaze at the Turkish carpets and watch the fountain play â€” the Burj rests on its own artificial island. So who can afford to stay there? Increasingly, the answer is the worldâ€™s fast-growing army of multi-millionaires from China. Three years ago, the Chinese comprised just four per cent of the hotelâ€™s guests. Now they make up almost a third. Not so long ago, one party from Beijing booked 50 rooms. Their growing presence among the worldâ€™s wealthiest is a clear indication that Chinaâ€™s economy is not only on the march, but heading for worldwide conquest at a speed few of us can comprehend. Beijingâ€™s ambition is boundless. It readily seizes opportunities that others duck. For example, in Britain, China is believed to be on the verge of baling out our nuclear power industry. Earlier this month, the gas giant Centrica pulled out of its 20 per cent stake in the Anglo-French partnership planning to build the next generation of nuclear power stations, at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk. Chinaâ€™s massive state-owned Guangdong Nuclear Power Group is the favourite to step in and fill the gap. Yet this is a nation which, less than 40 years ago, was a closed-off, paranoid, impoverished peasant country, ruled and ruined by Chairman Mao and his Red Guards. Now â€” as the worldâ€™s factory for every type of consumer product, and with its entrepreneurs and workers spreading throughout the globe â€” it is building up a huge and powerful economic empire, backed by the financial power of the worldâ€™s largest currency reserves. The statistics are mind-blowing. In a single decade, China has multiplied its trade with the rest of the world six times â€” up from Â£325â€‰billion in 2001 to almost Â£1.9â€‰trillion in 2010. Since 2005, Chinese companies have invested close to Â£320â€‰billion across the globe, three-quarters of it in the developing world. Beijing â€” which governs a population of more than 1.3 billion â€” has also overtaken the World Bank as the biggest lender on the planet. This provides China with a lethal financial weapon, underpinning Chinaâ€™s international diplomacy and global influence, and giving â€˜China Incâ€™ â€” the triumvirate formed by the Communist party-state, the banks and the state-owned businesses â€” the ammunition needed to blow their competitors out of the water. Urged on by Chinaâ€™s arrogant, intransigent and secretive political bosses, they can do all this without being accountable to anyone. No wonder many analysts believe that the future, whether we like or not, will be shaped not in London, Washington or Moscow but in Beijing. The tiger is no longer crouching. Claws outstretched, itâ€™s in the very act of leaping. An insight into the lengths to which China is willing to go to achieve economic might has already come from Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt. In a book to be published in April, he has described the country as â€˜the most sophisticated and prolificâ€™ hacker of foreign companies. Even the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, who has cultivated links with the Peopleâ€™s Republic, recently complained that The Wall Street Journal had been subject to Chinese cyber attacks. Just as critical to Chinaâ€™s unstoppable expansion â€” the â€˜Chinese miracleâ€™, as it is known â€” is invariably poverty, corruption and exploitation, according to Chinaâ€™s Silent Army, a chilling new book by Spanish journalists Juan Pablo Cardenal and Heriberto Araujo. They travelled in secret to many of the worldâ€™s poorest and most backward places, in Africa, Asia and South America. There, they discovered how Chinese companies, backed by state-run banks with unlimited resources, are buying up oil, minerals, precious metals and timber to fuel the economic miracle back home â€” leaving those countries raped of their natural resources. Their usual trick is to offer â€˜infrastructureâ€™ in return â€” a few motorways, perhaps a magnificent national football stadium, smart homes for the elite â€” but leave the bulk of those countries untouched, their people as poor as ever. In an act of colonialism much more oppressive and widespread than anything the British Empire was accused of, China is subjugating vast tracts of the globe to its economic dominance, and giving virtually nothing back. Those Â£2,000-a-night hotel rooms at the Burj Al Arab are paid for by sweated labour and near-slavery on a colossal (and largely hidden) scale. In the foothills of the Himalayas, the authors of the new book came upon a hell-hole where â€” through a deal with the Burmese military regime â€” entire mountains are reduced to rubble in pursuit of jade for the jewellery business. As if in a scene from a medieval imagining of Hades, 100,000 young men pick through the earth day and night, in return for a pittance, risking life and limb from landslides and floods, fortifying themselves on opium and heroin supplied by their Chinese bosses and paid for out of their wages. But even more horrific in the long term is that the jade goes straight to China. There is no processing plant, no thriving local industry emerging on the back of all this natural wealth. And once the jade runs out, the Chinese entrepreneurs will go, leaving just a vast hole in the ground and scores of ruined lives. The same thing is happening to Burmaâ€™s forests, plundered for wood to make parquet flooring for factories in Beijing and Shanghai to sell to the rest of the world, at a vastly inflated price. Meanwhile, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa, China has a 30-year contract to extract as much copper and cobalt as it wishes. In return, it is building thousands of miles of roads, bridges, railways, hospitals, airports, dams, hospitals, universities, supposedly catapulting this huge, backward nation into the modern world. On the surface, this is the deal of the century for the Africans, which is how it has been presented â€” until you examine the small print. While China is putting a welcome Â£3.8â€‰billion into the country, formerly known as Zaire, it stands to make as much as Â£75â€‰billion from the mining concession. The deal also guarantees China long-term supplies of vital resources for its manufacturing plants â€” the copper for electric cables, fibre-optics and armaments, and the cobalt for batteries for mobile phones, lap-tops and cars. As for all that promised infrastructure, in a country where 90 per cent of the population are illiterate, the new hospitals and universities are likely to sit idle, with no doctors and lecturers to staff them and no electricity to power them. Angola is another country that has apparently blossomed thanks to Beijingâ€™s munificence. Virtually destroyed by a quarter of a century of civil war, it now has ambitious construction projects. Close to 500 Chinese companies are involved, in return for Angolaâ€™s oil. The International Monetary Fund had been preparing to bankroll Angola, but insisted on political and economic reform in the notoriously corrupt, authoritarian regime as a condition. China cynically made no such demands. The result, say the two Spanish journalists, as they searched in vain for the new airport which is one of the supposed major building projects, is money being â€˜lootedâ€™ by corrupt politicians and government officials. One of the features of Chinaâ€™s foreign ventures, it seems, is that they take no account of the political probity of the countries they are dealing with. Rogue states are not only acceptable but welcome. Bargains are easier to strike with pariahs. Thus, China is happy to do business with Iran â€” in the face of international sanctions against the regimeâ€™s nuclear plans. Lured by oil, China has in just five years become Iranâ€™s biggest trade partner, with an annual turn-over of Â£23â€‰billion. Those very sanctions, of course, make it easier to do business. â€˜They arrived in an empty playing field,â€™ said one Western oil executive, whose company had been forced to stop trading with Tehran. Just as it has reached accommodations with the regimes of Iran and Burma, China is also happy to do oil business with Sudan, shunned by other countries because of terror connections and its genocidal policies towards Darfur. Turkmenistan is also on the list. This backward republic next to the Caspian Sea is a one-party state ruled by a president-for-life. Photography is banned, there are microphones in hotel rooms, and the police keep a lid on everything as if it were Stalinâ€™s Moscow. The country runs on brutality, bribery and the natural gas beneath its surface, which China, with countless millions of homes to heat and kitchen stoves to fire, needs â€” and gets. In their multi-million-dollar dealings, Chinaâ€™s businessmen are rarely troubled by conscience or consequence. In the construction of a dam, say, in the Third World, other international lenders invariably carefully consider environmental issues, social concerns for dispossessed people, protection of historic sites. Not China. The urgent need to fuel the factory of the world and the homes of one-fifth of the Earthâ€™s population comes first. It would be wrong to understate Chinaâ€™s achievement in recent years. The authors of the new book admit their admiration for its â€˜astonishing human beings with a limitless capacity for self-sacrifice, who venture out into the world driven only by their dreams of success, and who go on to conquer impossible markets which Westerners never dared tackle â€” or, if they did, failedâ€™. But they also argue that the downside is deeply worrying. â€˜China is setting itself up as an autocratic super-power without any interference from international scrutiny.â€™ If there is a return to be made, whether in raw materials or simply influence, money is available in vast quantities from Beijingâ€™s bottomless pockets, with few questions asked. As the authors put it, the Chinese â€˜never say noâ€™: a foothold in a country means a possible market for Chinese products in the future. For Beijing, this is a long-term project, though, given the astonishing speed of Chinaâ€™s expansion, â€˜long-termâ€™ may be as soon as tomorrow. The bookâ€™s authors made their revealing trip through Chinaâ€™s secret economic empire in 2010. Events have sped on at an alarming pace since. The ongoing financial crisis in the West has served to open more doors to the enterprising denizens of the East. Chinaâ€™s conquest of the planet, they now say, has entered its second phase â€” a gradual entry into Western markets. Chinese investors have acquired dozens of Bordeaux wine chateaux. Chinese dress- making companies have set up in Tuscany to exploit the prestige of a â€˜Made in Italyâ€™ label. Chinese millionaires are snapping up high-end property in London and New York, and â€” on a less extravagant scale â€” it was Oriental faces that were to the fore in photographs of crowds at the Christmas sales in Londonâ€™s high-end stores. A Chinese state-owned company now runs the port of Piraeus in Greece, on a 30-year lease. China is the largest foreign investor in Germany, ousting the U.S. from top spot. A Chinese sovereign fund has acquired more than eight per cent of Thames Water, and this ruthless nation may be about to take a major stake in Britainâ€™s nuclear power industry. These are not merely straws in the wind, but signs of â€˜a momentous tectonic shiftâ€™ and â€˜a new world orderâ€™, the book warns. An â€˜unstoppable and silent world conquestâ€™ is taking place under our noses that will change the course of human history. Some critics think this assessment of China is xenophobic and unnecessarily alarmist. Optimists prefer to think that, in time, China will turn away from autocracy, become more liberal, more democratic. At some point, they argue, China will have a free, just and equal society which will not be based on economic growth at any price, repression or the wielding of power with an iron fist. If only. Unfortunately, the way China is using its economic might in Asia, Africa and South America to exploit and to pillage rather than to promote freedom and human rights suggest this is wishful thinking.