Story of Change

This post will update you about my school newspaper project that I posted last time: previous post link.

In the project, I am the writer and the editor of the “Story of Change” category, which spotlight any changes that occur in our school (75%) and the world (25%). The primary reason that I chose that category is that I love to observe and evaluate the impact that changes have effects on people and their surrounding environment as well as how it shapes people mindset on certain topics. My favorite article that I wrote so far is about the China Belt and Road Initiative. It was very interesting to have a deeper understanding of how this project will shape our world and how different country to react to it. Please check it out below! Please click on this link to check more inspirational and amazing articles.

The Flowing Arteries and the Beating Heart of the Modern World?

The old saying of connectivity “All roads lead to Rome” may soon become “All roads lead to Beijing” in our contemporary world with China’s ambitious infrastructure project.

Many people aren’t fully aware of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that was officially unveiled in 2013, during President Xi Jinping’s visits to Kazakhstan and Indonesia. This initiative aims to enhance global connectivity by improving regional integration, increasing trade, and stimulating economic growth through infrastructure, which links China to more than 65 other countries. Undoubtedly, it’s also known as the 21st-century Silk Road, which was inspired by the ancient networks of the trade route, the Silk Road, during the Han Dynasty over 2,000 years ago, and connected China to the Mediterranean via Eurasia for centuries.

“Trade is an important engine of economic development,” President Xi claimed at the summit of world leaders in Beijing.

The Belt and Road Initiative includes ⅓ of world trade and GDP and over 60% of the worlds’ population. Source: World Bank  

The BRI is composed of two primary routes: the Silk Road Economic Belt, linking China to Central and South Asia and onward to Europe, and the New Maritime Silk Road, linking China to the nations of Southeast Asia, the Gulf Countries, North Africa, and on to Europe, according to World Bank. Its geographical scope is continually swelling with the expected cost of more than $1 trillion of investment, which largely focuses on the infrastructure development: ports, roads, railways, and airports, as well as power plants and telecommunications networks as mentioned in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Over the past five years, China has actively launched a fruitful partnership with many other nations through expanding “areas of common interest” and promoting the building of a new type of international relations based on “mutual respect, equality, and win-win cooperation.” This also means that the initiative is a door-opening opportunity for many Chinese firms to engage in construction work globally on an unparalleled scale.

“In advancing the Belt and Road, we will not re-tread the old path of games between foes. Instead, we will create a new model of co-operation and mutual benefit,” President Xi assured at the opening of the two-day summit.

Workers outside Turpan, China, are constructing routes vital to the Belt and Road Initiative. Source: The New Yorker

Although the Belt and Road have economically been very beneficial to the involved countries, especially to the developing nations, many people have questioned and worry about China’s motive in trying to dominate the world through “debt-trap diplomacy”—a strategy debt to gain economic control over vulnerable nations. For instance, via the Guardian, Sri Lanka’s government has already leased a port to a Chinese company for 99 years after struggling to repay the debt. In 2011, China wrote off an “undisclosed debt owed by Tajikistan in exchange for 1,158 sq km of disputed territory.” These are just the two examples among the eight Belt and Road countries at serious risk of not being able to repay their loans, according to the Center for Global Development.

Ultimately, we do not know how this massive and expensive plan is going to reshape our world in the future. However, we should all be aware of and understand its mission—both the benefits and the costs—on how it’s affecting us and our own countries. Therefore, understanding the multi-facets of this milestone is the key step towards preparing and predicting its result.

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