State-owned CCCC, one of the world's largest companies with annual revenue greater than Procter & Gamble Co. or FedEx Corp., says its portfolio of 700 projects in more than 100 countries outside China has a value of more than $100 billion. That makes it the largest Belt and Road contractor, according to RWR Advisory Group in Washington, which tracks Chinese investments abroad for government and corporate clients.

It is also one of the most vexed. CCCC and its subsidiaries have left a trail of controversy in many of the countries where they operate. The company was blacklisted by the World Bank in 2009 for alleged fraudulent bidding practices on a highway contract in the Philippines. Malaysia halted two rail projects this year amid corruption suspicions. In Australia, a government investigation published in March said that a CCCC-owned company may have been lax in supervising construction of a children's hospital, where the water supply was tainted with lead and a subcontractor installed asbestos-filled panels--problems CCCC said weren't its fault.

The Colombo project has drawn protests over environmental issues and is dogged by worries about the types of businesses it will attract, its governance under a legal structure separate from the rest of the country, and the strain that such a huge development will place on surrounding transport, water, and energy infrastructure.

The list goes on: allegations of mistreatment of railway workers in Kenya and of corruption in Bangladesh. In Canada, the company was blocked in May from acquiring a construction firm on national security grounds. And there have been calls by some members of the U.S. Congress to sanction CCCC because of its alleged role in helping the Chinese military build bases on reefs along a disputed area of the South China Sea--an issue that scuttled the company's plans in 2015 to raise $1 billion by spinning off its dredging unit in a public offering on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

There's no shortage of companies, including American ones, that have been accused of bribery and environmental damage when operating abroad. Yet the number and scope of allegations involving CCCC set it apart

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