What China has learned from the British Empire
A container ship belonging to the Cosco shipping company is docked at the Tollerort terminal in the Port of Hamburg.
China is striving for global supremacy. The stake in ports and the strategic interest in islands play a key role in this. The example is provided by the history of colonialism. A guest post.
AHere you can see at what speed China secures stakes in ports – most recently through the participation of the state shipping company Cosco in a terminal in the Port of Hamburg. But Cosco’s reaching out in Europe is no longer unusual. Zeebrugge and Antwerp, Bilbao and Valencia, the Vado Ligure Container Terminal and above all that of Piraeus, in which Cosco holds 100 percent of the shares: they all allow us to understand not only how an economic transport network is created, but how a maritime world power that China allows is striving to make critical infrastructure its own. In the history of colonialism, this is not so unknown.
A few years ago, a spectacular exhibition at the Asian Civilizations Museum in Singapore entitled “Port Cities: Multicultural Emporiums of Asia, 1500-1900” impressively showed that port cities are among the central elements of global empires. To put it another way: Without their ports, multicultural societies in cities like Jakarta and Manila, Guangzhou and Nagasaki would not have emerged in the form they are today. The global trade networks in which Singapore and Hong Kong played and continue to play key roles. “Port cities” as interfaces between land and sea were also junctions for railways and steamships.