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.
- 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.
- International Endeavours of Chinese NGOsThe international exposure of Chinese NGOs is not a recent phenomenon. Starting in the late 1970s, China reopened its doors to INGOs and other international organisations, which have since supported the development of a large number of Chinese NGOs. What is new today is that we are starting to see Chinese NGOs branching out of China and acting as donors and partners to organisations in developing countries. However, there remain several key challenges.
- From free rider to train driver?The pull-out of their armed forces by the U.S. and other NATO allies, the escalation of violence, and the spectre of Taliban rule have triggered a flurry of diplomatic activity by neighbouring countries, including India, Pakistan and Iran, Russia and China. Fuelling just as much speculation is how the new situation might unfold. After all, the withdrawal will make the country an epicentre for regional power struggles.
- Newsletter June 2021Contents: Blog post on ‘Build Back Better World’, the US-copy of BRI; European bailout for Montenegro; Call for boycott of Myanmar’s jade industry; Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in Europe in 2020; Chinas technological influence in Southeast Asia through the Digital Silk Road; Environmental Authoritarianism: Review of ‘China goes green’ by Yifei Li and Judith Shapiro.