Handbook on the International Political Economy of China
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Handbook on the International Political Economy of China

Edited by Ka Zeng

This book examines the processes, evolution and consequences of China’s rapid integration into the global economy. Through analyses of Beijing’s international economic engagement in areas such as trade, investment, finance, sustainable development and global economic governance, it highlights the forces shaping China’s increasingly prominent role in the global economic arena. Chapters explore China’s behavior in global economic governance, the interests and motivations underlying China’s international economic initiatives and the influence of politics, including both domestic politics and foreign relations, on the country’s global economic footprint.
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Chapter 21: China and the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI): Contested multilateralism and innovative institution-building

Wei Liang

Abstract

What drives China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)? Why did China decide to create new ‘parallel’ multilateral institutions instead of utilizing existing ones to pursue its objectives? This chapter provides a qualitative assessment of China’s multifaceted influence as donor, financer and investor, and more importantly, a new institution designer in BRI countries. By examining China’s Belt and Road Initiative, I argue that China might be challenging aspects of US dominance or preferences in some cases, but is still supportive of the neoliberal international order. Instead of challenging the dominant neoliberal norms, China has sought to build new parallel institutions (by excluding the dominant hegemon) in order to rewrite some rules in line with China’s interests and global vision and to complement the existing system by addressing infrastructure as an issue area that has been downplayed by the existing institutions.

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