Belt and Rebranding Initiative: Interpreter

The Belt and Road Initiative represents a wide variety of Chinese overseas initiatives, explains Nora Schlenzig of the Lowy Institute. “The initiative itself has gone through several rounds of rebranding since its official launch by Xi Jinping in 2013,” she explains, including One Belt, One Road Initiative and New Silk Road. “Supporters see it as a long-overdue plan for global infrastructure upgrade and integration. Sceptics, on the other hand, view it as China’s attempt to challenge the liberal world order, or they have concerns about transparency and sustainability of BRI debt financing.” She explains that trends in China’s trade, investment and lending patterns had been established at least a decade before BRI was announced. BRI soon controlled projects already underway including the Laos-China railway and Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port city. Schlenzig maintains the rebranding allows China’s president to assert power. “The absence of hard rules to play by also allows for opportunistic endorsement of successful elements and rejecting the more unsuccessful strategies, thereby reducing accountability,” she concludes. “Such deliberate ambiguity and lack of institutionalisation is one of the key characteristics of the Chinese political system more generally.” – YaleGlobal

Belt and Rebranding Initiative: Interpreter

Old ideas are new again in the name of China’s Belt and Road initiative – allowing the president to assert power and dodge accountability
Nora Schlenzig
Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Read the article from the Interpreter of the Lowy Institute, about the Belt and Road Initiative and accountability.

Dr Nora Schlenzig is an academic and political risk analyst with focus on China’s politics, regulatory reform and the role of the local state in the country’s internationalization process.

How Leaders Evade Accountability Delegate tasks, distancing responsibility and avoiding independent reviews Avoid, reword, repackage issues – and be vague about past mistakes Focus on minor points under the guise of transparency Appeal to integrity and standards without demonstrating either  Repeatedly claim and highlight successes Demand trust and loyalty without verification or reciprocity Emphasize attacks or unfair treatment from others  Question motives and credibility; accuse others of one’s own weaknesses  Support cronies, reshuffling positions quickly Avoid transparency and act in one’s own self-interest

(Source: Kelly O’Donnell, CHS Alliance)