The Role of the State in China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Uwe Hoering, Dezember 2019

It is not unusual that in huge infrastructure projects the state plays a crucial role in framing and implementation, often in varying forms of cooperation with private companies, such as Public Private Partnerships. Because of its distinctive regime character and relation with Chinese enterprises, the role that the Chinese state plays in the implementation of the ambitious infrastructure initiative “Belt and Road” (BRI), popularly known as the New Silk Roads, seems to be clearly different from similar initiatives. This contributes significantly to the broad attention, the initial successes and the high expectations that participating countries associate with it, not least against the background of China’s own rise to the status of a leading economic power. By analysing the BRI as an expansion of the Chinese development path in the past 40 years, this article attempts to elaborate some of the distinctive characteristics of the role of the state in this development, its relevance for the shape of the BRI, and the impacts for the development perspectives of the participating countries. This will also be decisive for the further implementation of BRI, which will be faced with a variety of challenges. Starting from the description of the Chinese development strategy as a variant of the developmental state and the localisation of the BRI in the current growth and structural crisis of the Chinese accumulation model, exposed by the global financial crisis of 2007/2008, a brief look at impacts of the BRI in three countries (Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) will illustrate how the BRI is shaped as a response to the crisis, resulting in economic, ecological and political repercussions in participating countries and for the Chinese government itself.

Volltext: Uwe Hoering, The Role of the State in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
In: Journal für Entwicklungspolitik XXXV, 4-2019

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