China’s “Belt and Road” Initiative represents a sweeping vision for establishing a global economic network of trade and development, with infrastructure projects in nearly 70 countries stretching all the way to Western Europe. This collection of interviews and articles examines how the ambitious gambit—also known as One Belt, One Road, the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road—is affecting bilateral relationships while bolstering China’s status as a global power.
Amid a looming global economic crunch driven in part by a slowdown in China, a recalibration of Beijing’s footprint in Africa and deepening tensions with the West, many African governments are asking questions about what direction the relationship between their countries and China will take in the next couple of years.
Western expatriates in China have shaped perceptions of the country to the point of sometimes overshadowing the country itself, but their experiences exist under a protective umbrella of privilege that is often out of touch with the experiences of so many other foreign-born workers and Chinese citizens working overseas.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s tour of Central Asia in July highlighted Beijing’s growing influence in the region. China has become a top trade partner and investor, surpassing Russia, its silent rival there. With Moscow now preoccupied with the war in Ukraine, Beijing is poised to secure its lead once and for all.