Conversation

04.24.19

Is This the End of Belt and Road, or Just the Beginning?

Nadège Rolland, Adrian Zenz & more
On April 25-27, China’s government will host the leaders of dozens of countries to celebrate the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the signature foreign policy program of Xi Jinping. Since its founding in October 2013, the BRI now covers more than 150...

Chinese Contractors Grab Lion’s Share of Silk Road Projects

James Kynge
Financial Times
China’s pledge to the world is that it will create a “community with a shared future for mankind”. But that sharing is no more than an afterthought as it rolls out an ambitious programme to build transport infrastructure across Eurasia, a study...

Viewpoint

09.24.17

China, Global Peacemaker?

James Bowen
In May, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave opening remarks to a two-day international forum designed to demystify and attract support for Beijing’s “Belt and Road Initiative.” This estimated $1 trillion investment campaign aims to create extensive...

Books

07.06.17

China’s Asian Dream

Tom Miller
“China,” Napoleon once remarked, “is a sleeping lion. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will shake the world.” In 2014, President Xi Jinping triumphantly declared that the lion had awoken. Under his leadership, China is pursuing a dream to restore its historical position as the dominant power in Asia.From the Mekong River Basin to the Central Asian steppe, China is flexing its economic muscles for strategic ends. By setting up new regional financial institutions, Beijing is challenging the post-World War II order established under the watchful eye of Washington. And by funding and building roads, railways, ports, and power lines—a New Silk Road across Eurasia and through the South China Sea and Indian Ocean—China aims to draw its neighbors ever tighter into its embrace.Combining a geopolitical overview with on-the-ground reportage from a dozen countries, China’s Asian Dream offers a fresh perspective on one of the most important questions of our time: what does China’s rise mean for the future of Asia. —Zed Books{chop}

Caixin Media

05.05.17

Belt and Road: A Symphony in Need of a Strong Conductor

In just a few weeks, the Chinese president will host the Belt and Road summit—Xi Jinping’s landmark program to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects across Asia, Africa, and Europe. Reactions to the project have been, understandably...

China Focus: What to Expect from Belt and Road Forum

Xinhua
The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation scheduled for mid-May is a high-profile international meeting on the Belt and Road Initiative, a China-proposed trade and infrastructure plan connecting Asia with Europe and Africa.

Books

03.02.17

The Silver Way

Peter Gordon and Juan José Morales
Long before London and New York rose to international prominence, a trading route was discovered between Spanish America and China that ushered in a new era of globalization. The “Ruta de la Plata,” or “Silver Way,” catalyzed economic and cultural exchange, built the foundations for the first global currency, and led to the rise of the first “world city.” And yet, for all its importance, the Silver Way is too often neglected in conventional narratives on the birth of globalization. Gordon and Morales re-establish its fascinating role in economic and cultural history, with direct consequences for how we understand China today. —Penguin China{chop}

China’s Ambitious New ‘Silk Road’ Trade Route Takes Shape in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Four years and hundreds of billions of dollars later, China’s ambitious global trading strategy known as the “New Maritime Silk Road,” or “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR), is now coming to life, particularly in parts of East Africa where major...

Depth of Field

05.31.16

Families, Weddings, and Beekeepers

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
This month’s Depth of Field column brings the stories of Chinese adoption; the marriage ceremony of Hu Mingliang and Sun Wenlin, a gay couple who filed the first civil rights marriage lawsuit to be accepted by a Chinese court (they lost); beekeepers...

China’s Risky Gamble to Become a Major Player in the Middle East and North Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Chinese president Xi Jinping’s three-country tour of the Middle East and North Africa offers yet another example of Beijing’s expanding drive for increased global influence. During his first visit to the region, Xi traveled to Saudi Arabia, Egypt,...

Can Beijing Sell Silk Road as a Marshall Plan Against Terror?

ANDREW BROWNE
Wall Street Journal
China needs West’s buy-in on stabilizing effects of its Silk Road project.

Why China and India Just Can’t Get Along

Hannah Beech
Time
A stunning dearth of fraternal ties exist between the two Asian superpowers.

Media

05.11.15

Interactive Map: Follow the Roads, Railways, and Pipelines on China’s New Silk Road

Reid Standish & Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
Foreign Policy has put together an interactive guide tracking Beijing’s victories and obstacles along the new Silk Road. The list of participating countries is still not finalized, but with China forking out billions in trade deals and preferential...

China’s Big Plunge in Pakistan

The Editorial Board
New York Times
 If China can advance a stable Pakistan through development programs, the whole region would benefit.

What China’s and Pakistan’s Special Friendship Means

Ishaan Tharoor
Washington Post
Sino-Pakistan friendship, read Islamabad billboards, "is higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, sweeter than honey, and stronger than steel."...

China Is Creating a New Economic World Order Right Under the West’s Nose

Pepe Escobar
Nation
From new “silk roads” to 40,000 miles of high-speed rail, China is poised to dominate the 21st century global economy.

China Commits $45.6 Billion for Economic Corridor with Pakistan

Mehreen Zahra-Malik
Reuters
The Chinese companies will be able to operate the projects as profit-making entities, according to the deal signed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during a visit to China earlier this month.

China Planning $16.3 Billion Fund for “New Silk Road”

Bloomberg
The fund, overseen by Chinese policy banks, will be used to build and expand railways, roads and pipelines in Chinese provinces that are part of the strategy to facilitate trade over land and shipping routes.

China’s Migrants Thrive in Spain’s Financial Crisis

Tobias Buck
Financial Times
Laden with beer, liquor, soft drinks and snacks, the trucks are on their way to restock the thousands of Chinese-run corner shops and convenience stores that dot the Spanish capital. Business is good. It always has been, even in the worst moments of...

China’s Kaifeng Jews Rediscover Their Heritage

Tiffanie Wen
Daily Beast
In Kaifeng, where Sephardic Jews from the Silk Road settled in the 12th century, their descendants are rediscovering long-last religious practices and petitioning Israel for recognition.

Sinica Podcast

07.26.13

The Strange History of Pasta in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
After almost three years of podcasting, this week on Sinica we bow to the inevitable with a show about Chinese cuisine, and in particular the strange history of pasta in China. Joining us for this journey is Jen Lin-Liu, author of On the Noodle Road...

Books

07.25.13

On the Noodle Road

Jen Lin-Liu
Feasting her way through an Italian honeymoon, Jen Lin-Liu was struck by culinary echoes of the delicacies she ate and cooked back in China, where she’d lived for more than a decade. Who really invented the noodle? she wondered, like many before her. But also: How had food and culture moved along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route linking Asia to Europe—and what could still be felt of those long-ago migrations? With her new husband’s blessing, she set out to discover the connections, both historical and personal, eating a path through western China and on into Central Asia, Iran, Turkey, and across the Mediterranean.The journey takes Lin-Liu into the private kitchens where the headscarves come off and women not only knead and simmer but also confess and confide. The thin rounds of dough stuffed with meat that are dumplings in Beijing evolve into manti in Turkey—their tiny size the measure of a bride’s worth—and end as tortellini in Italy. And as she stirs and samples, listening to the women talk about their lives and longings, Lin-Liu gains a new appreciation of her own marriage, learning to savor the sweetness of love freely chosen. —Riverhead Books{node, 3722, 4}

Excerpts

07.25.13

Kashgar Prepares to Feast

Jen Lin-Liu
The next day, my husband, Craig, and I arrived in Kashgar, the most Uighur town in Xinjiang. At the western edge of the Taklamakan Desert and near the foot of the Pamirs and the Tien Shan mountain ranges, the city had been a trading post for Central...

Out of School

08.30.12

Refresher Course: The Silk Road

Valerie Hansen
The “Silk Road” was a stretch of shifting, unmarked paths across massive expanses of deserts and mountains—not a real road at any point or time. Archeologists have found few ancient Silk Road bridges, gates, or paving stones like those along Rome’s...

Books

08.29.12

The Silk Road

Valerie Hansen
The Silk Road is as iconic in world history as the Colossus of Rhodes or the Suez Canal. But what was it, exactly? It conjures up a hazy image of a caravan of camels laden with silk on a dusty desert track, reaching from China to Rome. The reality was different—and far more interesting—as revealed in this new history.In The Silk Road, Valerie Hansen describes the remarkable archeological finds that revolutionize our understanding of these trade routes. For centuries, key records remained hidden—sometimes deliberately buried by bureaucrats for safe keeping. But the sands of the Taklamakan Desert have revealed fascinating material, sometimes preserved by illiterate locals who recycled official documents to make insoles for shoes or garments for the dead. Hansen explores seven oases along the road, from Xi'an to Samarkand, where merchants, envoys, pilgrims, and travelers mixed in cosmopolitan communities, tolerant of religions from Buddhism to Zoroastrianism. There was no single, continuous road, but a chain of markets that traded between east and west. China and the Roman Empire had very little direct trade. China's main partners were the peoples of modern-day Iran, whose tombs in China reveal much about their Zoroastrian beliefs. Silk was not the most important good on the road; paper, invented in China before Julius Caesar was born, had a bigger impact in Europe, while metals, spices, and glass were just as important as silk. Perhaps most significant of all was the road's transmission of ideas, technologies, and artistic motifs.The Silk Road is a fascinating story of archeological discovery, cultural transmission, and the intricate chains across Central Asia and China.  —Oxford University Press