DW Documentary: China – The New Silk Road

China’s New Silk Road

A modern trade route between Asia and Europe is under construction. The gigantic project is the brainchild of Chinese president Xi Jinping.

Belt and Road explained: Where the Silk Road began and where it’s going | DW News

Officially it’s the Chinese government’s Belt and Road Initiative: The New Silk Road is a trillion-dollar series of infrastructure projects meant to smooth the way for Chinese goods across the globe. It translates to highways, bridges, railways, ports; with a network stretching across Asia, Africa and into Europe. Partner countries are often eager for investment, and for improvements to old infrastructure. But the New Silk Road isn’t a charity project. China is lending money, and spreading debt. Sri Lanka even handed a port to the Chinese after nearing default. And then there’s the geopolitical significance: China is aiming for new influence on world markets. China’s New Silk Road is a highly centralized plan that leans on loads of cash and diplomacy from Beijing. The original Silk Road by comparison was a loose collection of trade routes that stretched from the Far East across the plains of Central Asia to the Western World. So what’s similar apart from the name? You might say that the original Silk Road was where globalization got its start. For this report by DW’s Mathias Bölinger, DW spoke with Jason Jian, International Sales Director of the Broad Group and Ma Haiyun of Frostburg State University.

The New Silk Road, Part 1: From China to Pakistan | DW Documentary

The New Silk Road is a mammoth project intended to connect China with the West. It’s a gigantic infrastructure project that Beijing says will benefit everyone. But this two-part documentary shows China’s predominant self-interest and geopolitical ambitions.

The New Silk Road, Part 2: From Kyrgyzstan to Duisburg | DW Documentary

The New Silk Road is a mammoth project meant to connect China with the West. It’s a gigantic infrastructure project that Beijing says will benefit all. But this two-part documentary shows another side: of China’s self-interest and geopolitical ambitions. China’s path to global power leads through the legendary trade road. Our authors travel west on two separate paths: One team follows the sea route, along which China is expanding its support bases, while the other follows the ancient Silk Road through Central Asia. Their journey takes them through stunning landscapes and to magical places with ancient caravanserais, where the lore of the old Silk Road lives on. At the same time, they observe China’s overwhelming new influence in immense construction sites and shipping hubs. People everywhere are hoping the new trade will bring them and their children work and prosperity, just as the old Silk Road did hundreds of years ago. But others fear that a future dominated by China will bring them no good at all. “Clean water, the mountains and nature are much more important than the money they give us,” the filmmakers learn in Kyrgyzstan. Chinese investment has not only bestowed the country with better roads, power lines and railway lines, but also with environmental pollution, corruption and crippling debt. Oman is another stop on the line, where Beijing has taken over large parts of a new Special Economic Zone in the desert city of Duqm. You can still see traditional Arab dhows in the old harbor at Sur, but they no longer have a place in today’s international trade. Instead, the horizon is dotted with huge container ships, many of them flying the Chinese flag. Meanwhile, the French port city of Marseille is aiming to become the New Silk Road’s European bridgehead. A small container village in the hills above the city is the first step. Cheap textiles from the Far East are delivered here to the “Marseille International Fashion Center”. MIF 68 for short – 68 is considered a lucky number in China – is geared towards distributing China’s products throughout Europe. The two-part documentary shows the breathtaking dimensions of this gigantic project – one where, it would seem, no stone will be left unturned.

China’s gateway to Europe – the New Silk Road

The “New Silk Road” is an enormous Chinese international development project. It’s a trade network that involves Asia, Africa, and Europe — and more than 70 countries are already involved. It may turn the old world order upside down. China is investing in bridges, port facilities, railroads, and roads around the world. Beijing is spending several hundred billion euros on what it calls the “Silk Road Economic Belt.” Chinese President Xi Jinping says the project will provide development opportunities and wealth for China and the entire world. Beijing will take the lead role in building this infrastructure network. After the financial crisis in Greece, no European country wanted to invest there — but China saw an opportunity, and bought shares in the port of Piraeus. By 2016, Beijing owned a majority of shares. The Greek dockworkers’ union still finds it hard to accept that the port no longer belongs to Greece. In 2019, Italy joined the Silk Road project — and signed a memorandum of understanding with China on development of the port of Trieste. But critics warn that the “Silk Road” project will allow Beijing to spread its influence around the world. Europe is divided between those who favor such cooperation, and those who oppose it.

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