This briefing aims to deepen discussion on the Belt and Road Iniatiative (BRI) in Myanmar. The BRI is often described as a ‘grand strategy’ led by President Xi Jinping, centrally planned and rolled out by obedient state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The sheer size of the initiative – 136 countries have received US$90 billion in Chinese foreign direct investment and exchanged US$6 trillion in trade with China - can make the BRI appear monolithic and inevitable. However, using a political economy analysis, this briefing demonstrates that the BRI is not a grand strategy, but a broad framework of activities that seek to address a crisis in Chinese capitalism. An examination of four BRI projects in Myanmar using Chinese language sources shows the extent of lobbying by Chinese SOEs and the Yunnan provincial government to promote the projects, with support from the central Chinese government.
Chinese investments in Europe have surged in recent years, totaling €35 billion in 2016. This paper examines the nature and scope of Chinese investments, how investments in Europe differ to those made in the Global South, why the Chinese state is interested in investing in the Europe and the implications for social movements committed to social justice.
Since the liberalization of the Sino-Soviet border, Chinese peasants, migrants, and investors have been actively engaged in agriculture in the Russian Far East (RFE). These range from agricultural laborers contracted by labor-exporting firms, to farmers who have set up their own small and medium-sized farms.
China is one of the major investors in hydropower development in mainland Southeast Asia, yet Chinese involvement in hydropower varies across the region. Popular and expert viewpoints on China’s investment in hydropower also vary widely.
As Brazil and China become the world’s leading exporter and importer of soybeans respectively, Chinese companies have sought investments in Brazil to wrest greater control over the flows and profits of the international soybean trade from North Atlantic-based transnational companies. While some promote these as positive “South-South cooperation”, many others condemn them as neocolonial “land grabs” that displace peasants, cause environmental degradation, and deindustrialize the Brazilian economy.
New geopolitical dynamics and the surge for natural resources, such as land, accompany the rise of the BRICS countries in the global arena. In this paper, I discuss the case of Chinese agricultural land investments in the Central Asian state, Tajikistan. Emerging from a Soviet past, Tajikistan seems to be on its way to becoming one of China’s newest satellite states.