China’s Belt & Road and the World: Competing Forms of Globalization

ALICE EKMAN, (ED.) , FRANÇOISE NICOLAS, CÉLINE PAJON, JOHN SEAMAN, ISABELLE SAINT-MEZARD, SOPHIE BOISSEAU DU ROCHER, TATIANA KASTOUEVA-JEAN (INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE RELATIONS INTERNATIONALES – IFRI) | President Xi Jinping’s priorities. He has placed the concept at the heart of China’s domestic and foreign policy. The project could even remain relevant until 2050, the centenary of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) – major deadline for the Chinese Communist Party (CPC). Although the project raises concerns due to its geographical scale (more than “130 countries and international organizations” are supposed to be involved – according to the latest official statements) and sectoral reach (transportation, energy, telecommunications, finance, tourism, culture, digital, space, among many other sectors), it is mainly characterized by its methodology, which is uncommon. First, the concept was launched before its concrete content was defined, and China’s partners were and still are frequently encouraged to provide ideas to the Chinese government on how to make it concrete. Second, it is difficult to identify a project that has been launched by a state in recent decades with so much determination, and so much investment in its national and international promotion, and yet with so much ambiguity. Third, the project, which is constantly evolving, is promoted in accordance with communication and implementation methods usually used in China, but never on this scale internationally. Faced with the novel approach and speed with which the project has gained in awareness and importance, many foreign countries appear unsettled.

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