China’s New “Silk Road”: Future MEGAPROJECTS


Having recently completed both the world’s
most extensive system of expressways and the planet’s longest high speed rail network,
China is now looking beyond its borders for opportunities to keep building. President Xi Jinping announced at a recent
summit that Beijing has sealed megaproject deals with 65 countries throughout Eurasia
and Africa to construct ports, power stations, rail lines, roads, and all the tunnels and
bridges needed to connect them back to mainland China. At a total cost of over $1 trillion, the One
Belt, One Road initiative is unprecedented in size and scope. So is the bold funding mechanism: China will
use its large, state-run banks to provide most of the financing, a risky move, when
you consider how few of the nations in the O.B.O.R. could afford something like this
on their own. “Oh,” say the leaders of economically-challenged,
underdeveloped Laos, Yemen, or Ethiopia — or the blood-soaked regime of Bashar al-Assad
in war-ravaged Syria — “you want to loan us billions of dollars to build some cool
stuff in our countries? Of course, why not!?” China is hard-selling the project as a way
to boost its westward connections, an update of the silk road trade route that played a
significant role in developing China and the rest of the region 1,000 years ago. But many analysts see this comparison as little
more than a marketing pitch. Al Jazeera clip: “Is the real point of this,
East-West service then simply to boost China’s westward connections? [Pauline Loong] “Well I wouldn’t say simply
to boost China’s westward connections, but I totally agree with Charles that it’s more
a PR stunt. To call it the “Silk Road,” that’s really
brilliant—evocative of romantic camel travels in the past. When, you know, you have these lovely silks
and trade and so forth. And it’s good, because look at all the headlines
it has been getting, but in practical terms, it’s early days yet.” [Bryce] Aside from the lessons China learned
from its own recent infrastructure boom, Beijing is also drawing inspiration from the American
Marshall Plan which financed the rebuilding of Western Europe after it was decimated during
the second world war. That program was worth the equivalent of $130
billion in today’s dollars and ensured the US had reliable export markets for the manufactured
goods and machinery its growing economy had become dependent on producing. China’s modern version — first announced
in 2013 — is the signature initiative of President Xi Jinping. Several projects have already been completed. Earlier this year London became the 15th European
city connected directly to China through an ever-expanding global rail system, meaning
freight trains loaded with goods can now arrive after a 12,000km journey all the way from
the east coast of the landmass. And, at a cost of $4 billion, China also just
completed Africa’s first transnational electric railway, which runs 466 miles from Djibouti
to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Chinese companies designed the system, built
the line, and supplied the train cars. The many other projects under the O.B.O.R.
umbrella include: A $6 billion, 260-mile railway connecting
eight Asian countries. Desperately needed power plants to address
Pakistan’s chronic electricity shortage, part of a larger $46 billion investment by
China in Pakistan aimed at offsetting the American and Japanese-backed building boom
happening in neighboring India, China and Pakistan’s mutual rival. Train lines will connect Budapest to Belgrade,
Serbia, providing another artery for Chinese goods to reach Europe after arriving in a
Chinese-owned port in Greece. And — in a move that adds prestige to O.B.O.R. — China is financing more than a third of
the $23.7 billion cost of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in southwest England. Part of the challenge in analyzing whether
this building boom is ultimately good for the world is its sheer complexity. Nothing like this has ever been done before
in human history. Yes, providing underdeveloped countries a
chance to have better transportation infrastructure, or cleaner power plants is a good thing. But, by funding infrastructure that’s designed
to enhance commerce and trade — instead of basic services many of these countries
need more, like clean drinking water, affordable housing, and better education — China’s
motives seem to favor the wealthy, elite business class. Here are other factors that explain why China
is undertaking a project of this magnitude: The Communist Party has staked its reputation
on non-stop economic growth. Since they hold all the power, the Chinese
people expect them to deliver. But with its domestic megaproject boom nearing
completion, China must find new buyers for all the steel, cement, and construction machinery
its economy produces, or many of its factories could grind to a halt. It has decided the solution is One Belt, One
Road, but lending hundreds of billions of dollars to many countries with weak credit
ratings and unstable political systems is very risky. Which reveals an underlying sense you get
when you look closely at One Belt One Road: China’s increasing desperation. The country’s national debt is already very
high, but borrowing continues to accelerate at historic levels as state owned banks loan
more and more money to state owned companies. The prime example of the risks associated
with the tight rope the Communist Party is trying to walk was the government bailouts
issued during China’s recent stock market collapse. That crisis was caused by the same sense of
impatience that’s driving O.B.O.R.—the Party’s need to feed the insatiable economic
growth monster. Using its powerful propaganda machine, Beijing
urged its own people to invest their savings heavily in its immature, unstable market—causing
inexperienced citizens to treat investments in companies like bets at a casino, creating
a huge bubble that, naturally, burst. The government then suspended trading for
a while and pumped billions into the system to avoid a total collapse. So really, when you step back, the core motivation
for One Belt, One Road boils down to the Communist Party’s need to buy itself more time in
order to come up with its next scheme to prop up the economy, because when it inevitably
slows down, which it’s already starting to do, the Party’s promise to deliver a
fantastic economic dream world will have been proven false for everyone in China but the
elites. The silver lining is that many of the ventures
China has undertaken will pay long-term dividends, like building up its high-tech manufacturing
sector, with the anticipation that when OBOR’s transportation networks are complete, it will
be ready to use them to deliver higher-cost goods like iPhones, drones, and green energy
technologies to the rest of the world. The other major motivating factor here is
the unmistakable opportunity to gain even-power status with the United States in Asia. The election of Donald Trump, and then his
decision to walk away from the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal that would have hurt
China, are massive geopolitical mistakes—completely unforced errors that China intends to take
full advantage of. When it first announced the O.B.O.R. back
in 2013, Barack Obama had just begun his second term and the US pivot to Asia was in full
force. With rivals like Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam
challenging China’s efforts to control maritime trade routes, it was clear China was being
hemmed in on its Eastern flank. Despite the election of Trump, this is still
true. So by instead turning instead to the vast
land mass to the west for new opportunities, China minimizes its reliance on maritime trade
routes that could be cut off in the event of a destabilizing military conflict. At the end of the day, China is all about
business. It doesn’t matter if you’re a democracy,
a dictatorship, or a failed state, China wants to work with you. But this willingness to embrace some of the
world’s more unsavory characters could backfire. Just look who Xi is sitting next to at the
O.B.O.R. summit: Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan—two men who look
more and more like dictators clinging to power with each passing day. That’s not a good look for China, and it
reminds us that the Communist Party is even less transparent. But in a world where the President of the
United States is a bumbling fool, these partnerships create much less of an image problem now than
they would have just a few months ago, when the widely admired Barack Obama was leading
the free world. If you ask the Chinese, the O.B.O.R. is all
about peace, an embrace of the concept of coop-etition. A generation ago it was unthinkable for a
country to invest billions of dollars on infrastructure in another country, but in our hyper-globalized
world, dominated by interconnected markets, it may become the norm, especially when we
consider the intangible benefits—greater economic interdependence lowers the risk that
groups of countries will want to fight with other groups of countries, many of whom are
bound together by military alliances. Every one of these projects increases China’s
soft power, giving Beijing more and more leverage in any future negotiation or military conflict. The many foreign seaports it will build and
manage for the next half century will be particularly valuable chess pieces. Its understandable that Chinese policymakers
are romanticizing One Belt, One Road as a crowning achievement for their nation—further
recognition that it has regained its former status as a great civilization that deserves
recognition around the world. But the reality is that it still has a long
way to go. Combined, the following factors may weaken
the optimistic sales pitches being made to foreign officials: a recent Oxford business
school study argued that half of Chinese domestic megaprojects actually destroyed, not generated
economic value; a few of China’s previous efforts to build megaprojects in foreign countries
— like the A2 motorway in Poland — failed miserably; landowners and their representatives
in the national assemblies of host countries are pushing back hard against attempts to
take away their land; and public demonstrations against some the projects are beginning to
take root, and spread. Another dose of reality that should sober
Beijing is that— after analyzing China’s overleveraged financial position — its credit
rating was just downgraded by a major agency, whose analysts concluded that its borrowing
is raising red flags, and its economic growth will continue to slow down. Of course, none of these speed bumps is going
to stop the Communist Party from attempting to execute their great leap. They are committed 100% to embracing a fundamental
history lesson — one we were all reminded of by Brexit’s improbable win and the unlikely
ascendence of Donald Trump — that fortune favors the bold—at least, in the short run. Thanks for watching. Get caught up on all of China’s major domestic
megaprojects with the mini-documentary I made last year, which started some interesting
conversations. To learn even more, and to support our work,
sign up for a free 30-trial of Audible.com — linked below — and you’ll get one
free audio download, like the great courses on The Fall and Rise of China. Until next time, for TDC, I’m Bryce Plank.

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100 thoughts on “China’s New “Silk Road”: Future MEGAPROJECTS

  1. why can't our bloody useless australians politicians bite the bullet and just get the chinese to build our infrastructure, like a bullet train to join our major cities? I just got back from china and the country and it's people are amazing.

  2. Thanks to China …every day i m traveling from my home town on China built motorway to my country capital to feed my family well …love u China

  3. You mean this guy is really concerned about the welfare of the peoples that China is pumping money into as investments and loans to help develop their countries? Surprise, surprise, he is even more concerned about the welfare of the chinese people, whose welfare he thinks the chinese government is not paying enough attention to. Please give us a break. If you are from a country that is more interested in Beggar Thy Neighbour foreign policy, which is a noted historical record, one would have thought that you would have at least not try and demonise other countries who put their money where their mouth is.

  4. uoy are hypocrite. usa give the world guns and missiles.
    china is bad and dangerous because the export road's and clean water

  5. There is nothing the west can do to stop China. The rise of China has benefited the world, and more importantly the developing world. China has invested where the America has been reluctant. Ultimately people's live have been transformed through these projects.

  6. Hmmmm……….although the Chinese should be commended for the projects they are financing, there are some huge risks that the Chinese are taking! Saying that,they are playing the long game seeking a return over decades.This is definately a long term project.As for internal problems, Let's be pragmatic for a moment,name me a country that DOESN'T have internal problems?!?! The Chinese and Indians are going in the right direction! There is a very long way to go however. The US needs to learn some valuble lessons frm China (mind you the Chinese can also learn valuble lessons from the West) and that is winning power and influence by making friends with the world.I will not say that the US is bad, not it's people anyway but it's establishment (and the UK too) is dreadful!!!!!The Chinese (and the Russians to a lesser extent) are simply doing what the US did in the 19th century.The biggest test for China is when it will need to use it's hard power to protect it's interests in the future i.e.military,but hopefully I will not see this in my lifetime

  7. This video is assuming people all over the world are all as stupid as US people…Only US people would believe this kind of …

  8. China needs to be able to import oil from Iran via rail. Get onto it guys. Should only take you a twinkle of an eye! Well done china.!

  9. I am a Chinese.I would like to tell you that this idea from China,but this project belong to all countrys who join together. It is a corporation,Every country is its master.

  10. Trump was elected in the nick of time to allow China to be #1 in a few years. His killing of TPP before he could explain what it was, told us he was made to China's liking.

  11. Another sour grape video from loser Yankees. China Belt Road Initiative or the alternative USA Bomb Rob Initiative. The world knows what is good for themselves.

  12. Putin and turkey are definitely better then the hypocrites, pirates, thief, killer, troublemaker and bankrupt US !!! This is another US propaganda to badmouthing and with bad intentions on China achievement!!! Just look at history, US is more of a murderer and created wars base on lies and not trustworthy at all. How many wars have they have by lied and how many innocent people have they murdered !!!

  13. The President, whom you brashly call a "bumbling fool", is currently the only political figure in the world who is mounting the best non-military offensive possible to stem the onslaught, cleverly
    disguised as economic reform, of Chinese Communism.

  14. China is a super power now,no doubt of that. Its US v/s China now. US involved with too many military conflicts. China has surged ahead. People getting help and money from china,from US,only weapons and war. US needs friends or will become alone

  15. Americans are war lords nothing else. If you give the whole world to them by unanimous consent, they will refuse by taking peacefully. they would say no we first use our ammunitions, jets, tanks and B52 bombers to check it out how it works.

  16. Yeah let’s listen to this guy who’s never gotten 800 million out of abject poverty because he’s been brainwashed by the western media. See China should be bombing other countries to get rich isn’t that how the other developed countries made it?

  17. E. Herron It is my opinion that The One Belt One Road Initiative is a great idea and my God bless China and President Xi Jinping. My main concern is whether the law of supply and demand will support a One Belt One Road Initiative. To avoid this and the restrictions of a monetary society, I think a “Resource Based Economy” is the ideal solution to what the One Belt One Road Initiative proposes to achieve.

  18. Please recall CHINESE invented gun powder to writing paper but now this new Silk Road is even more important because China is not only connecting 148 countries but directly connecting world’s more important religions!! Buddhism/ Islam and Christianity in fact all religions together.

  19. What a BS video. At least the Chinese are spending their sovereign wealth to stimulate economic development in countries they're located in, meanwhile, we in the US led by Bolton, we're looking to stage a new war front.

  20. Even if it's a debt trap,building a 800 km rail way in Kenya ,no matter what happens the rail way is there people using it with four hour trip instead of five days by trucks,debt trap is when you sell them jet fighters and guns ,they do not need in first place

  21. What an ill formed logic of the American sour loser! China is building these countries rather than bombing/sanctioning/looting them like America.

  22. 8:25 – "an image problem" – you are definitely a moron, ascribing significance to fabricated "images" in heads of biomass of commoners, being mesmerized by fake news out of CNN/ "Metro" free paper etc. etc. etc. You should believe in power of mass idiocy, so when the populace elect another clown – it changes the course of the world. China does NOT believe in images, its actions are based on knowledge of physical economy and energy balance. When you die – your nonsensical "images" disappear the same very moment with no trace!

  23. 8:30 – "widely admired Barack Obama was leading the free world" – a trigger quote that should immediately attract attention of a psychiatric care specialist. You even more dumb than nascent Commies in 1910-1930, who somehow believed in Lamarkism, Freudism or totally rejected genetics due to ideological indoctrination at fanatical level + back then there was little knowledge to counter-argument. You have NONE of such excuses, this fog of unknown simply do not exist nowadays. Your ignorance is willful!

  24. "a generation ago it was unthinkable for a country to invest billions of $ on infrastructure on another country" – what the U.S.S.R. did in Afganistan just EXACTLY "a generation ago", but of course you do not know that at all. All you know is how to bomb infrastructure (water purification plants for instance) in another country, what the U.S.A does a lot (Iraq / Syria / Afganistan / Lybia etc. etc. etc.).

  25. Yes, a "bumbling fool" is another name for someone who "pour more fuel in the fire" (in Yemen), gives MBS "carte blanche" for any weapons the Pentagon has, openly slanders Muslims, and scoff at the idea that the "sting of a dying Yemeni scorpion" might just turn out to be an H-bomb detonated in Mecca ( a final Shia dagger placed directly into the heart of Sunni Islam by some Yemeni rebels who saw their own children starve to death in their arms . . , and they decided to take revenge). OMG… there are only 1.8 BILLION MUSLIMS who will really be PISSED OFF AT DONALD TRUMP after that one. (Hey! The Bible tells me that the thirty mile high mushroom cloud be be a HOT & S C P R C H I N G W I N D . . . and it will blow from the desert directly toward —
    YOU GUESSED IT SIR (Jerusalem , see Jeremiah 2:11-13, 4:10-12). ISAIAH 33:14 says it will T E R R I F Y the sinners in ZION.
    OMG (I really don't want to live to see that one — do you? And (DAMN!) "There come those "pesky neighbors" again, carrying stones…."

  26. I thought this was about the building of the New Silk Road but no it is just another US promoted slur against their imminent demise, enough.

  27. America is a thing in the past. It will be disappearing sooner or later. Look at the history of the Roman Empire. The 21st Century belongs to China because they work for the unity and economy .. America is like Cowboy a war monger.

  28. China is interested in trade, America is interested in wars. china is a defensive agriculture civilisation while USA is pure plunderer of other nations. example iraqi oil, yes what else when lies of weapons of mass destruction is not found. USA love to destroy a dictator while leaving the country in shambles, very irresponsible behaviour. want more US support the Arab spring rebellion, until now Syria and libery is still a world zone. thousands suffered and died. US want to teach the world on morale high ground? Give me a break !

  29. China, I must give praises to all of China's Citizens from rich to poor. Weak to strong, young to old, all level of educations. And most of all Chaina the envy of the world. God bless Chaina

  30. Chinas national debt with America is also a huge risk, so it will have just as many wins with the continent of Africa as it could get with America who are unreliable that could be circumvented if they continue with current policies

  31. You are biased. What is your alternative ? . Slave trade bombing countries and steal their resources?.

  32. Lies, after lies, prejudice and jealousy against positive Chinese World wide development projects. China has 99% positive policy towards humanity. Some of it’s international projects may fail due to the politics and economic stability of those countries concerned, but most of the projects will succeed. Stop your negative propaganda.
    On the other hand we don’t see or experience before Chinese army crushing down forgiven nations, particularly the third world countries, killing million innocents people.
    So no one accepts your negative view against Chinese policies. Everybody in this world sees what China is doing, even middle school grades can tell you that. We the rest of the world must learn from China. All humans are brothers and sisters, we must love each other, support each other, feed and give each other, help the poor, help the elderly, help the sick and help the child and support the innocent but not cheat, humiliate and kill. That is the golden rule we need. We can make this world one happy prosperous village.
    Otherwise we will end up in Hell Fire in this world and after life.

  33. OBOR is a good economic development for the world, only if it was used for the good of Trade and Development not to project powers towards small countries.

  34. If you want to nuke China, than say nuke China. You liberals just love war so much. In reality, you are all owned by China, and they have the Maoist system Apple and Google and now the Democratic Party is now destined to put into play. In other words, Hail Jinping!!!!

  35. China build bridges roads & railways to connect people & provide them a chance to develop their economy. The US builds war machine to destroy other countries & build walls to disconnect the people & destroy their economy.

  36. President Xi, Putin & Erdogen are intelligent charismatic world leaders busy building their nation. Trump, George Bush are stupid fools who only knows how to destroy other nations.

  37. The real fool was OBAMA cause he just excepted china as a next super power. And let china rise like any thing.

  38. The real fool was OBAMA cause he just excepted china as a next super power. And let china rise like any thing.

  39. Austronesian world including Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and surrounding countries should have a strategic economic and military alliance to establish a vast and influential networks of trade routes- a silk sea so to speak. Mess with us and all your economic assets involved with us would disappear.

    Eventually we can trade with rest of the world and prosper as a compensation for our sad colonial past.

  40. ANOTHER U.S PROPAGANDA VIDEO TO SPREAD FEAR THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. AMERICA IS THE GREATEST TERRORIST GANGSTER ORGANIZATION IN EARTH HISTORY

  41. China spending 1 trillion in building, where as US has spent 6 or 7 TRILLIONS in bombing and killing. You are commenting on CHINA????

  42. In the past America built the world's best network of bridges, railroads and highways , China built Great Wall ..
    Today China is building bridges railroads and highways … America is building Great Wall …

    One country is opening up and creating prosperity around the world , another is closing … Crumbling empire desperately trying to stay at the top …using their military to threaten the world instead of rebuilding it's own economy …

  43. Those rail road are going to pave the way to also build, clean water, low housing and many other basic things in these countries. It is far better than building weapon, destroying countries almost beyond repair. What China is doing should being done by the destructive, terrorist, killing machine , inept, brutish of USA.

  44. https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/maos-great-leap-forward-killed-45-million-in-four-years-2081630.html

  45. China creates a much fairer and less violent model of globalization than the old model defended by the North Americans. Long live One Belt One Road.

  46. …"the blood-soaked regime of Bashar al-Assad"…
    Typical westerner who knows nothing about the world, educated by mainstream media, like CNN and New York Times, for example.
    The most blood-soaked regime in the world is USA. US and other western liberal democracies spilled so much blood all over the world in the last seventy years, and they are the cause of suffering of hundreds of millions people.

  47. There are over million face detection cameras in USA, they call it for security. But Chinese cameras are called evil and, against human rights. USA has 23 trillion budget deficit, China has 3.1 trillion in reserve. China holds 1.3 trillion American debt. Chinese are smart now with trade issues. Chinese are getting rid of US tresury bonds and buying gold from world markets. Screw USA. There are over 7 billion people in the world China can do business with. US is not world.

  48. 说实话我们更关心我们自己的问题,而你们更关心伊朗,我们愿意去工厂工作,而你们更在意股票.所以中国更快.说实话,那一个政党不让人讨厌呢?

  49. I find the term 'silk road' romantic because it reminds me of the good old website on torbrowser

  50. Too bad they don't have the funds to complete the project, that is unless they take over the banks in Hong Kong.

  51. How much did we wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan yet finished paying, anyone? How about building a silk road for North and South American instead of the useless carriers. Think about the economic multiplier. Now wait the military cartel will not approve of it, who should we send to convince them…. Trump the deal maker and his will match his match… China is financially blowing up really? sour grapes….

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