The Belt&Road Initiative (BRI), which was announced in 2013 and has since been expanded to cover almost the entire world, is a crucial pillar of China’s ambition to become a major global power not only economically but also politically. It thus has a central role in the escalating confrontation with the United States and the European Union.
My book “Der Lange Marsch 2.0. Chinas Neue Seidenstraßen als Entwicklungsmodell”, published in summer 2018 (VSA-Verlag), provides an introduction to the complex and controversial discussions about what strategy China’s government is pursuing with BRI and beyond. An updated English translation is now also available (“China’s Long March 2.0”).
Since then, I have written numerous other articles that are posted on this blog, supplemented by guest posts. They mainly focus on the intersections between China’s economic and political expansion, its geopolitical implications, and the consequences for the countries of the Global South – between economic development and political dependencies.
- Coal phase-out ‘par ordre de mufti’President Xi Jinping’s announcement at the UN General Assembly in September that China will not build any new coal-fired power plants abroad in the future has given the international climate community new hope for an accelerated reduction of CO2 emissions worldwide, like the mirage of an oasis to the thirsty wanderers in the Sahara. For a real energy transition in the countries of the Global South, however, this is only one – albeit important – piece of the puzzle.
- Newsletter September 2021Contents: Blogs: Xi Jinping: “No new coal power abroad” (Guest post by Tom Baxter) / Newsletter August 2021 News: Myanmar: Moving closer to the military regime Readings: Debt debate: Digging into a ‘Black Hole’.
- “No new coal power abroad”Advocates have been doing everything they can for years to stop the construction of new coal power plants. Xi Jinping’s announcement could bring an end to China’s position as the world’s largest and last major public financial backer and builder of coal fired power plants overseas.
- Newsletter August 2021Contents: Blog post: The Risks of worker’s unrest; News: „Greening“ Belt & Road; Beijings human rights offensive; Readings: Overseas investments and human rights; Public perceptions of BRI and sustainability.
- The risk of workers’ unrest“Who built the seven-gated Thebes?” asks Bertold Brecht’s ‘reading worker’, “in the books are the names of kings.” In the case of the Silk Roads, Chinese workers are at least mentioned, but in most cases with the comment that they were displacing local workers. Labour conditions and trade union rights, on the other hand, feature hardly at all in the debates on Chinese projects and companies. But here there are risks that could jeopardise the whole BRI venture.
- Newsletter July 2021Contents: Blog post on options for Beijing in Afghanistan: ‚From free rider to train driver?’; Guest post by Ying Wang on Chinese NGOs ‚Going global’; Blog roll: The People’s Map of Global China; Blog roll: Workers Struggles along the New Silk Roads (in German); News: Who Funds Overseas Coal Plants? Readings: The Impact of the Belt and Road Initiative on Conflict States.