PODCAST

The Belt and Road Podcast

Erik Myxter-iino and Juliet Lu

A podcast that covers the latest news, research and analysis of China's growing presence in the developing world.

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The Politics of Infrastructure Maintenance and Decay w/ The Roadwork Asia Project's Agnieszka Joniak-Lüthi and Zarina Urmanbetova
Jun 10 2022
The Politics of Infrastructure Maintenance and Decay w/ The Roadwork Asia Project's Agnieszka Joniak-Lüthi and Zarina Urmanbetova
Juliet and Erik are joined by Agnieszka Joniak-Lüthi and Zarina Urmanbetova of Roadwork Asia to discuss China's road infrastructure projects in Central Asia and their research at Roadwork Asia, including their article on infrastructural connections across the Toghuz-Toro district of central Kyrgystan Welcome and Unwelcome Connections: Travelling Post-Soviet Roads in Kyrgyzstan.Agnieszka Joniak-Lüthi is a professor of social anthropology at the University of Fribourg and head of the ROADWORK project. She focuses on China and the Sino-Central Asian borderlands. Her recent research explores the nexus of transport infrastructure, settler colonialism, and processes of state territorialization in northwest China. She has also expanded her research into infrastructure maintenance and how temporalities of materials, investment, discourses, government agendas, ecosystems, and humans affect the social life of infrastructure in the Sino-Central Asian borderlands.Zarina Urmanbetova is a social anthropologist from Kyrgyzstan. She has worked on projects for UN Women Kyrgyzstan, Urban Initiatives, the Research Institute of Islamic Studies in Bishkek, and the Analytical Center Polis Asia. She holds a BA from the Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University and a MA in social anthropology from Hacettepe University in Turkey. At ROADWORK, she focuses on the social and cultural life of roads in central Kyrgyzstan. Recommendations:Agnieszka Roadsides,  an open-access journal designated to be a forum devoted to exploring the social, cultural, and political life of infrastructureBelt & Road in Global Perspective, a project of the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of TorontoZarina14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible documentary on NetflixErikBish Bosch album by Scott WalkerJulietHow Sand Mining Threatens a Way of Life in Southeast Asia. National Geographic. Photos & reporting by Sim Chi Yin, writing by Vince Beiser. March 2018.Satellites Spy on Sand Mining in the Mekong by Alka Tripathy-Lang, Dec 2021. The Messy Business of Sand Mining Explained. Marco Hernandez, Simon Scarr, Katie Daigle. Feb 2021.
The Politics of Infrastructure Maintenance and Decay w/ The Roadwork Asia Project's Agnieszka Joniak-Lüthi and Zarina Urmanbetova
Jun 10 2022
The Politics of Infrastructure Maintenance and Decay w/ The Roadwork Asia Project's Agnieszka Joniak-Lüthi and Zarina Urmanbetova
Juliet and Erik are joined by Agnieszka Joniak-Lüthi and Zarina Urmanbetova of Roadwork Asia to discuss China's road infrastructure projects in Central Asia and their research at Roadwork Asia, including their article on infrastructural connections across the Toghuz-Toro district of central Kyrgystan Welcome and Unwelcome Connections: Travelling Post-Soviet Roads in Kyrgyzstan.Agnieszka Joniak-Lüthi is a professor of social anthropology at the University of Fribourg and head of the ROADWORK project. She focuses on China and the Sino-Central Asian borderlands. Her recent research explores the nexus of transport infrastructure, settler colonialism, and processes of state territorialization in northwest China. She has also expanded her research into infrastructure maintenance and how temporalities of materials, investment, discourses, government agendas, ecosystems, and humans affect the social life of infrastructure in the Sino-Central Asian borderlands.Zarina Urmanbetova is a social anthropologist from Kyrgyzstan. She has worked on projects for UN Women Kyrgyzstan, Urban Initiatives, the Research Institute of Islamic Studies in Bishkek, and the Analytical Center Polis Asia. She holds a BA from the Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University and a MA in social anthropology from Hacettepe University in Turkey. At ROADWORK, she focuses on the social and cultural life of roads in central Kyrgyzstan. Recommendations:Agnieszka Roadsides,  an open-access journal designated to be a forum devoted to exploring the social, cultural, and political life of infrastructureBelt & Road in Global Perspective, a project of the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of TorontoZarina14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible documentary on NetflixErikBish Bosch album by Scott WalkerJulietHow Sand Mining Threatens a Way of Life in Southeast Asia. National Geographic. Photos & reporting by Sim Chi Yin, writing by Vince Beiser. March 2018.Satellites Spy on Sand Mining in the Mekong by Alka Tripathy-Lang, Dec 2021. The Messy Business of Sand Mining Explained. Marco Hernandez, Simon Scarr, Katie Daigle. Feb 2021.
The Chinese Insurance Sector and the BRI with Margaret Myers
May 10 2022
The Chinese Insurance Sector and the BRI with Margaret Myers
Margaret Myers returns to The Belt and Road Podcast to speak with Erik about the role and development of China's international insurance sector in Latin America and the Caribbean.  The conversation is based on her January 2022 report from The Dialogue entitled Going Out, Guaranteed: Chinese Insurers in Latin America. Margaret Myers is the director of the Asia & Latin America Program at the Inter-American Dialogue. She created the Dialogue's China and Latin America Working Group in 2011, as well as the China-Latin America Finance Database in cooperation with the Global China Initiative at Boston University's Global Development Policy Center. She has previously worked as a Latin America analyst and China analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense.Recommendations:MargaretAlbright, Zara C., Rebecca Ray, Yudong (Nathan) Liu (2022), China-Latin America and the Caribbean Economic Bulletin, 2022 Edition ErikRichard Simmons  'Sweatin' to the Oldies' Workout VideoA special thanks to Taili Ni for editing this episode!
Ammar Malik, China AidData, and the Data and Debate over Chinese Lending
Apr 8 2022
Ammar Malik, China AidData, and the Data and Debate over Chinese Lending
On this episode, Juliet and Erik speak to Dr. Ammar Malik about AidData’s Global Chinese Development Finance Dataset, Version 2.0.  This dataset provides the most comprehensive data on China’s overseas development finance activities, covering projects over 18 commitment years (2000-2017). They discuss the trends and findings from the dataset, break down China’s overseas loans and the concept of ‘hidden debt’, explore potential future applications of the data, and more. Dr. Ammar Malik is a senior research scientist at AidData, a research lab at William & Mary where he leads the Chinese Development Finance Program. He holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from George Mason University, an M.A. in Public Affairs from Sciences Po Paris, an M.A. in Public Policy from the National University of Singapore, and a B.Sc. in Economics and Mathematics from the Lahore University of Management Sciences.  Read more of Dr. Malik’s work:Malik, et al. (2021), Banking on the Belt and Road: Insights from a new global dataset of 13,427 Chinese development projects Find Mandarin Chinese versions of the report’s executive summary here and the main report hereMalik, Ammar and Bradley Parks (2021), Hidden debt exposure to China: What is it, where is it, and should we be concerned? RecommendationsAmmarBluhm, et al (2020), Connective Financing: Chinese Infrastructure Projects and the Diffusion of Economic Activity in Developing Countries  ErikMargaret Myers, Going Out Guaranteed: Chinese Insurers and Latin AmericaHow To with John Wilson on HBOJuliet (via Jack Zinda’s recommendation)R, Gabriel and Jeremy Wallace (2022). Political Science, Authoritarianism, and Climate Change: Can the Climate Crisis Undermine Democratic Legitimacy? In response to: Mittiga, Ross (2021). Political Legitimacy, Authoritarianism, and Climate Change. Cambridge University Press.~Thanks to Taili Ni, the newest member of the Belt and Road Podcast team as of March 2022, who edited this episode and wrote the show notes!~
52: Cotton Diplomacy in Central Asia: Dr. Irna Hofman on China in Tajikistan and Beyond
Mar 10 2022
52: Cotton Diplomacy in Central Asia: Dr. Irna Hofman on China in Tajikistan and Beyond
Just across the Xinjiang border, China is investing in a range of sectors. Infrastructure and road construction are booming as in many other places, but cotton investments dominate and are seen as a distinct type. Cotton is considered a strategic crop both to China and Tajikistan and is embedded in a range of elite networks and state power. Cotton Diplomacy is one of many things we cover in this episode, listen in!Read more of Dr. Hofman's work: Chinese Cotton Diplomacy in Tajikistan: Greasing the Ties by Reviving the Cotton EconomyIn the Interstices of Patriarchal Order: Spaces of Female Agency in Chinese-Tajik Labour EncountersTowards a geography of window dressing and benign neglect: The state, donors and elites in Tajikistan's trajectories of post-Soviet agrarian changeRecommendationsIrnaThe People's MapHost an event bringing together all the podcast interviewees!ErikEmbrace home design DIY!Listen to MeatLoaf Bat Outta Hell 2 album especiallyJulietThe Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop (2010) The Power and Business of Hip-Hop: A Reading List on an American Art Form. Stories of hi-hop’s genius, influence, struggle, and enduranceOvercoming Challenges to the Research Environment in China, Harvard Fairbank Center with YuenYuen Ang, Liz Perry, Denise Ho and Rob Weller (Summary)This Tik Tok that Erik sent me making fun of podcast hosts that do recommendations at the end lol
51: A Systematic Analysis of International Chinese Contractors - w/ Hong Zhang
Feb 3 2022
51: A Systematic Analysis of International Chinese Contractors - w/ Hong Zhang
On episode 51, Juliet and Erik welcome back Dr. Hong Zhang to discuss the history, interests, corporate structures and agency of International Chinese infrastructure contractors. Discussion is based on Hong Zhang's May 2021 working paper for SAIS-China Africa Research Initiative entitled: Chinese International Contractors in Africa: Structure and Agency.   Hong Zhang is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Johns Hopkins University's SIAS-CARI and a 2021-22 China and the World Program Fellow at Columbia University. She received her PhD in Public Policy from the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University in 2021. She is one of the best thinkers and writers on all things Belt and Road and we were lucky to have her back on the show! Here are this episode's recommendations!Erik:1. Benedetta, dir. Paul Verhoeven2. Encanto, dir. Jared Bush, Byron Howard, and Charise Castro Smith (+ the Pixar short that plays at the beginning!)Hong Zhang:1. "Archaeologies of the Belt and Road Initiative," Made in China Journal2. James Reilly, Orchestration: China's Economic Statecraft Across Asia and Europe, Oxford University Press3. Lina Benabdallah, Shaping the Future of Power: Knowledge Production and Network-Building in China-Africa  Relations, University of Michigan PressJuliet:1. 狗熊有话说 Bear Talk podcast2. Sustainable Asia  podcast
Episode 50!! Grounded Understanding Within BRI / B3W "Competition" with Juliet & Erik
Dec 15 2021
Episode 50!! Grounded Understanding Within BRI / B3W "Competition" with Juliet & Erik
Juliet and Erik celebrate their 50th episode by discussing their first co-authored article "Beyond Competition: Why the BRI and the B3W Can’t and Shouldn’t Be Considered Rivals" (Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung)On June 12, 2021, US President Biden along with the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) launched their own “positive alternative” to the BRI - the Build Back Better for the World (B3W) multilateral infrastructure investment initiative.  Juliet and Erik make the case that framing the two initiatives as competing alternatives is deceptive as on one hand, they are not comparable in many important ways, and that they each face the same challenges that all infrastructure initiatives face, regardless of the implementing country(ies). Importantly, they also see that the focus on US-China competition distracts from the important role of host countries in directing how infrastructure investments unfold on the ground and that the focus on the geopolitics surrounding the two initiatives misrepresents their stakes for local communities and environments that are to be affected by these projects, the workers that will build them, and the people they will connect.Recommendations: Erik1. I think you should leave with Tim Robinson 2. Party like it's 2003! Put away any screen that is connected to the internet and enjoy your evenings with friends in family in an analog world Juliet 1.  Last week tonight with John Oliver's analysis of the current state of Taiwan
49: How do Chinese firms approach overseas investment risk? w/ Alvin Camba
Sep 28 2021
49: How do Chinese firms approach overseas investment risk? w/ Alvin Camba
On this episode Erik speaks with returning guest Dr. Alvin Camba about his latest research paper "How Chinese firms approach investment risk: strong leaders, cancellation, and pushback" (link to paper)This groundbreaking research uses hundreds of in-depth interviews with top officials from China, Chinese SOEs, state-owned banks as well as Philippine and Indonesian political and economic elite to get a glimpse at how Chinese firms view the strength of a foreign leader, how that affects their investment decisions and how miscalculating strength can lead to undesirable outcomes for Chinese investors and/or State.Alvin Camba is an assistant professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. He received his PhD in Sociology from Johns Hopkins University and is also a non-resident fellow at the Climate Policy Lab at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Recommendations Alvin: 1. How Duterte Strong-Armed Chinese Dam-builders but weakened Philippine Institutions2. How China Lends: A Rare look into 100 debt contracts with foreign governments.  Anna Gelpern, Sebastian Horn, Scott Morris, Brad Parks, Christopher Trebesch at AIDDATAErik:1. Get a treadmill desk! 2. The nihilistic electronic noise music of Pharmakon - specifically recommending the song No Natural Order
48: The Continued Transformations of the Belt and Road Initiative w/ Jonathan Hillman
Aug 16 2021
48: The Continued Transformations of the Belt and Road Initiative w/ Jonathan Hillman
On the episode, Juliet and Erik speak with Senior Fellow and Director of the   Reconnecting Asia Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Jonathan E. Hillman. Jon discusses the BRI in a historical context and talks about the way he's seen the BRI shift since its inception in 2013. The interview is based on Jon's 2020 book The Emperor's New Road: China and the Project of the Century (Yale University Press -- Juliet's review of the book)Recommendations:Juliet: 1) Feature on the main takeaways of the 2020 China census, South China Morning Post2) Sophia Yan at the Telegraph: Xinjiang reporting, Hong Kong SilencedErik:1) China's Population Conundrum, Sinica podcast2) an enthusiastic plea to come to North DakotaJon:1) Reconnecting Asia, CSIS2) A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, George Saunders, 2021
47: Kristen Hopewell on Chinese Agricultural Trade, Emerging Powers, and the Battle Over Export Credit
Jul 15 2021
47: Kristen Hopewell on Chinese Agricultural Trade, Emerging Powers, and the Battle Over Export Credit
On this episode, Juliet talks with Dr. Kristen Hopewell, the Canada Research Chair in Global Policy in the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia. Also a Wilson China Fellow, Kristen's work sheds light on how international governing bodies like the WTO and OECD can influence and be influenced by growing Chinese agricultural trade, subsidies, and export credit, combined with the increasing exercise of power by emerging powers coming to the international forefront. Who wins and who loses?Today's interview is based on: 1) Clash of Powers: US-China Rivalry in Global Trade Governance, Cambridge University Press, 20202) Breaking the WTO: How Emerging Powers Disrupted the Neoliberal Project, Stanford University Press, 20163) What is 'Made in China 2025' – and why is it a threat to Trump's trade goals?, Washington Post, 2018Check out our recommendations!Kristen: Essays of the Rise of China and its Implications, Wilson CenterJuliet: Food in China's international relations, D. Zha and H. Zhang, 2013~Special thanks to Maggie Gaus, who joined the Belt and Road Pod team in Dec 2020 and edited this episode~
46:  The Belt and Road from Outer Space to Underground with Julie Klinger
Jun 22 2021
46: The Belt and Road from Outer Space to Underground with Julie Klinger
On this episode Juliet and Erik speak with Dr. Julie Klinger about her research that smartly connects the seemingly disparate topics of geological surveying, Chinese domestic environmental and social movements, international infrastructure investments and China-Africa space cooperation. It's a fascinating discussion that you certainly don't want to miss!  Our interview is based on: 1) Julie's amazing book, Rare Earth Frontiers2) "Environment, development, and security politics in the production of Belt and Road spaces" and 3) "China, Africa, and the Rest: recent trends in space science, technology, and satellite development."Julie Klinger is an Assistant Professor in the University of Delaware’s Department of Geography & Spatial Sciences. She is associate director of the Minerals, Materials, and Society Program at U Delaware and co-facilitates the Embodiment Lab. Here are this week's recommendations!Juliet:1) Hunger Games film, 2012 (significance of the three-finger salute)2) Timothy McLaughlin's Atlantic articles discussing MyanmarErik:1) Pekingology podcast, CSIS2) Punisher, Phoebe Bridgers (especially the song aptly named Chinese Satellite), 2020Julie:1) Alie Ward's Ologies Podcast2) The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey Into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred, Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, 20213) Intimate Geopolitics: Love, Territory, and the Future on India's Northern Threshold, Sara Smith, 2020~Special thanks to Maggie Gaus, who joined the Belt and Road Pod team in Dec 2020 and edited this episode~
45: Mapping Global China, for and by the People with Ivan Franceschini, Stella Hongzhang and Mark Grimsditch
May 28 2021
45: Mapping Global China, for and by the People with Ivan Franceschini, Stella Hongzhang and Mark Grimsditch
A  new approach to mapping the Belt and Road Initiative has arrived! The People's Map of China combines a broad, global representation of Chinese investments across a map of where they occur across the world with deep dive research into specific projects and their social and environmental implications. Designed by a coalition of nongovernmental organizations, journalists, trade unions, academics, and public contributors, the People's Map aims not only to improve understandings of global China but also to serve as a tool for advocacy for  stakeholders affected by Chinese projects. Erik & Juliet speak with Mark Grimsditch, Stella HongZhang, and Ivan Franceschini - three of the creators - about its recent launch, the design and creation, and the intended uses of the People's Map. Access the People's Map HereAnd see our recommendations: Ivan: "Chinese workers allege forced labor, abuses in Xi's 'Belt and Road' program." Lili Kuo & Alicia Chen. Washington Post. Erik: "Sound of Metal" filmJuliet: 1) HongZhang's article in Panda Paw Dragon Claw, "China's manifesto for leadership in global development"2) Webinar: TNI’s Agrarian Conversations Series, “Global Food Regimes and China”3) Webinar: The BU Global Development Policy Center’s latest webinar with Jake Werner, “The Sources of China’s Vision for Global Economic Governance“Mark: Get off Twitter once in awhile, and watch Star Trek: The Next Generation ~Special thanks to Jada Kissi, who joined the Belt and Road Pod team in Dec 2020 and edited this episode~
43: An in-depth look at the environmental implications of the $2bn Ghana - Sinohydro Bauxite for Infrastructure deal with Terrence Neal and Dr. Elizabeth Losos
Apr 25 2021
43: An in-depth look at the environmental implications of the $2bn Ghana - Sinohydro Bauxite for Infrastructure deal with Terrence Neal and Dr. Elizabeth Losos
In this episode, Erik is joined by Terrence Neal and Dr. Elizabeth Losos to discuss their recent report that uses Ghana's $2bn bauxite-for-infrastructure deal with Sinohydro as a case study to look into the environmental implications of BRI resource-financed infrastructure agreements. Read the full report here: "The Environmental Implications of China-Africa Resource-Finance Infrastructure Agreements: Lessons Learned from Ghana's Sinohydro Agreement" About the authors: Terrence Neal is a natural resource governance researcher and current U.S. District court judicial law clerk. Terrence received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2019, and his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy from Duke University in 2015. His research focuses on international human rights law, international economic law, and natural resources governance. Dr. Elizabeth Losos is a Senior Fellow at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Guest recommendations:Elizabeth:1) China’s Belt and Road: Implications for the United States, Council on Foreign Relations, March 2021.Terrence:1) Go outside and ride a bike!Erik:1) Twenty Years of Data on China’s Africa Lending, Kevin Acker and Deborah Brautigam, March 2021.2) How China Lends: A Rare Look into 100 Debt Contracts with Foreign Governments, Anna Gelpern et al., March 2021.~Special thanks to Maggie Gaus, who joined the Belt and Road Pod team in Dec 2020 and edited this episode~
42: Kelly Chen on the Complexities of Politically Important Sovereign Debt Agreements within the BRI - A Case Study of the Laos-China Railway
Mar 16 2021
42: Kelly Chen on the Complexities of Politically Important Sovereign Debt Agreements within the BRI - A Case Study of the Laos-China Railway
Juliet and Erik talk with research assistant professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology - Kelly Chen about her latest publication on the effects of Chinese infrastructure aid in Laos: hidden labor struggles, subcontracting, equity, and how it all came to a head with the Trans-Laos Railway project. Kelly dives into Chinese international lending, economic geographies, and narratives about creditworthiness and power through this case study.Read Kelly's work here:Sovereign Debt in the Making: Financial Entanglements and Labor Politics along the Belt and Road in LaosAnd here's an article by Kelly and Juliet for Panda Paw Dragon Claw:From Pioneers to Brokers: How a diverse Chinese diaspora facilitates the Belt and Road in LaosAnd check out our recommendations!Erik:1) Double recommendation for Sovereign Debt in the Making: Financial Entanglements and Labor Politics along the Belt and Road in Laos2) Zojirushi rice cookers!Kelly:1) Biao Xiang: China's Global Migration in the New Millenium2) Virtual Engagements on Global China Speaker SeriesJuliet:1) Maria Repnikova: No, The Chaos in America is Not a Gift to China and Russia~Special thanks to Maggie Gaus, who joined the Belt and Road Pod team in Dec 2020 and edited this episode~
41: Margaret Myers on China's “Multi-tiered” Approach in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region
Feb 23 2021
41: Margaret Myers on China's “Multi-tiered” Approach in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region
On this episode, Juliet and Erik talk with Margaret Myers about the growing importance of Sub-national actors in China's geo-economic engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean. Read the entire report "Going Local: An Assessment of China's Administrative-Level Activity in Latin America and the Caribbean" hereMargaret Myers is the director of the Asia & Latin America Program at the Inter-American Dialogue. Recommendations:Margaret:  - Yellowstone, Infrastructure Finance: The Business of Infrastructure for a Sustainable Future by Neil GriggJuliet: - The Yongle Emperor @Imperial_Yongle and similarly the Chongzhen Emperor@ChongzhenEmp - satirical China twitter accounts-We, too: contending with the sexual politics of fieldwork in China - article inGender, Place & Culture by Mindi Schneider, Elizabeth Lord & Jessica WilczakErik: - The Paw Tracker Newsletter- The Mandalorian~Special thanks to Maggie Gaus, who joined the Belt and Road Pod team in Dec 2020 and edited this episode~
40: Easy Money is Rarely Easy: Jessica Liao on Infrastructure Financing and Export Credit Agencies
Jan 21 2021
40: Easy Money is Rarely Easy: Jessica Liao on Infrastructure Financing and Export Credit Agencies
China is not the only player in the infrastructure investment game. So how does China's rising engagement under the Belt and Road intersect with investments of other countries? Jessica Liao shares multiple examples in which China's engagement in infrastructure investments, as well as in other areas of export investment management (e.g. export credit agencies), provoke competition with and sometimes the weakening of standards among other investor countries. Read the following articles by Jessica: 1) Panda Paw article "Easy Money and Political Opportunism: How China and Japan's High-Speed Rail Competition in Indonesia drives financially risky projects" 2) "Geoeconomics, easy money, and political opportunism: the Perils under China and Japan's high-Speed rail competition." (2020) by Jessica Liao & Saori Katada. Contemporary Politics3) "The Club-based Climate Regime and OECD Negotiations on Restricting Coal-fired Power Export Finance" (2020) by Jessica Liao. Global Policy. And check out our recommendations:Jessica: China Goes Green: Coercive Environmentalism for a Troubled Planet by Yifei Li and Judith ShapiroJuliet: Adam Smith in Beijing by Giovanni ArrighiErik: Hugh Hewitt's interview "The EXIM Bank: Now more than ever - Chairman Kimberly Reed makes the case to Hugh Hewitt"~Special thanks to Maggie Gaus, who joined the Belt and Road Pod team in Dec 2020 and edited this episode~
39: Harnessing Chinese Telecommunications Investments to Ethiopia's Benefit with Ding Fei
Dec 31 2020
39: Harnessing Chinese Telecommunications Investments to Ethiopia's Benefit with Ding Fei
Countries along the Belt and Road face major strategic technical and political questions when considering Chinese assistance in the telecommunications field. In this episode, Dr. DingFei discusses two articles on Chinese telecoms investments in Ethiopia. Through the lenses of Ethiopian state-Chinese company negotiations as well as employment practices, she explains how Ethiopian actors have corralled Chinese company interests to better serve their priorities and put bounds on their dominance of the Ethiopian telecommunications system by introducing inter-firm competition. See Dr. DingFei's relevant publications here: 1) Chinese Telecommunications Companies in Ethiopia: The Influences of Host Government Intervention and Inter-firm Competition. (2020) The China Quarterly 2) Employee Management Strategies of Chinese Telecommunications Companies in Ethiopia: Half-way Localization and Internationalization. (2020) Journal of Contemporary China Check out our recommendations!Ding1) Africa's Shadow Rise: China and the Mirage of African Economic Development, Pádraig Carmody, Peter Kragelund, and Ricardo Reboredo, September 2020Erik1) Going Local: An Assessment of China’s Administrative-Level Activity in Latin America and the Caribbean, Margaret Myers, December 20202) How To with John Wilson, HBOJuliet1) Media Politics in China: Improvising Power Under Authoritarianism, Maria Repnikova, June 2017~Special thanks to Maggie Gaus, who joined the Belt and Road Pod team in Dec 2020 and edited this episode~
38: Who decides and how along the Belt and Road? with Thomas Hale & Johannes Urpelainen
Dec 18 2020
38: Who decides and how along the Belt and Road? with Thomas Hale & Johannes Urpelainen
Who makes decisions about project approval, design, and the pursuit of sustainability - in China, in recipient countries, and beyond? A recent report entitled, 'Belt and Road Decision-making in China and Recipient Countries: How and To What Extent Does Sustainability Matter?' breaks this question down artfully to trace the interests and institutional structures shaping BRI projects. Listen to our interview with two of the three the authors, Thomas Hale (Associate Professor of Global Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford) and Johannes Urpelainen (Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and founding director of ISEP) and check out our recommendations!Erik1) Ys, Joanna NewsomJohannes1) De-carbonizing the Belt and Road, Climateworks Foundation, September 20192) The Emperor's New Road: China and the Project of the Century, Jonathan Hillman3) The Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy at Johns Hopkins SAISTom1) Ministry for the Future, Kim Stanley RobinsonJuliet1) On China's New Silk Road, Mary Kay Magistad~Special thanks to Maggie Gaus, who has joined the Belt and Road Pod team and edited this episode~
37: Lucille Greer on China's Various Engagements in the Middle East
Nov 29 2020
37: Lucille Greer on China's Various Engagements in the Middle East
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region is vitally important to China, particularly as a source of oil but also increasingly as a staging ground for China's forays into global politics. Lucille Greer (@Lucille_Greer_), an expert on China-MENA relations, sheds light on a range of topics from the role of Xinjiang in China's Islamic world relations to the 'strategic alliance' between China and Iran. Lucille has written extensively on the topic, see for example, - "Last Among Equals: The China-Iran Partnership in a Regional Context,"- "Solidarity and Strain: China and the Middle East During COVID-19," - "The Chinese Islamic Association in the Arab World: the Use of Islamic Soft Power in Promoting Silence on Xinjiang," - "The Chinese Piece in Iran's War Games," and - "China's Bet on Assad: The Lucrative and Risky Business of Postwar Reconstruction."And check out our recommendations!Erik1) China Africa Project Podcast, Mark Bohlund "China, Bondholders, and the Worsening African Debt Crisis"2) The Joys of Cordless VaccuumsLucille1) Experts in related fields: Mohammed Turki Al-Sudairi (@MohammedSudairi), Wu BingBing (Peking U. Institute of Arab-Islamic Culture),  Wang Suolao (Peking U. Center for Middle East Studies), Ariane Tabatabai (@ArianeTabatabai), Jonathan Fulton (@jonathanfulton), John Calabrese (American U. Middle East-Asia Project)2) All About China - Middle East Institute3) Bourse & Bazaar - an online hub for news, insights, research, and events on Iran4) CGTN Arabic music video on COVID-19 referenced during our interview Juliet 1) Bear Talk: Mandarin language podcast on a weird mix of technology insights, book reviews, and personal improvement tips - a good way for intermediate and advanced Mandarin speakers to get some listening practice in (and tune out of current events and politics)2) Sold Out: Rethinking Housing in America, a new podcast by KQED on California's housing crisis.
36: China's Global Power Database: China's global power plant investments data at your fingertips!
Oct 28 2020
36: China's Global Power Database: China's global power plant investments data at your fingertips!
China is a leader in global power generation - both through fossil fuel and clean energy technologies. Chinese capital has been involved in establishing at least 777 power plants across the world, providing 186.5 GW of power generation capacity. To track China's impact on global power generation, Boston University's Global China Initiative is launching "China's Global Power Database" which Erik & Juliet discuss with BU's Cecilia Han Springer and Ma Xinyue. This database tracks all the world's power plants financed by Chinese foreign direct investment and/or China's two global policy banks, the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China. The database is extensive, gets all the way down to plant level details, and is completely open source and publicly available. Check out the China's Global Power Database for yourself: check out our recommendations: Erik1) Follow @ChinaCamMonitor for good updates on China in Cambodia2) Fiona Apple's new album Fetch the Bolt Cutters3) Americans: VOTE!Ma Xinyue1) Listen to the Korean band: BTSCecilia Han Springer: 1) The Political Economy of the Chinese Coal Industry: Black Gold and Blood-Stained Coal by Tim Wright AND 2) FAIR BRI Dataset is forthcoming by the Global China Initiative, will cover the intersections between  (see updates at bu.edu/gdp, subscribe  to their newsletter, or follow on twitter @GDPC_BU)Juliet: 1) Listen to BU Global China Initiative's weekly seminars on Wednesdays 2) Black China Caucus (@BLKChinaCaucus): a collaborative effort that strives to enhance the presences and participation of Black experts specializing in any aspect aiding in the comprehensive understanding of China. The mission of the BCC is accomplished by the active promotion of Black China specialists as well as the creation of targeted resources aimed at enhancing the professional development and advancement of Black practitioners in the China space.
35: Without Dreams in Sihanoukville: Chinese and Cambodian Construction Labor Struggles
Oct 12 2020
35: Without Dreams in Sihanoukville: Chinese and Cambodian Construction Labor Struggles
Labor is a lightning rod for judgments of the benefits of the Belt and Road: Will Chinese projects generate work opportunities for the host country? Do Chinese employers follow different labor standards than others? When and how do workers speak out against poor labor conditions?Ivan Franceschini brings a few new angles to the labor question. He knows the domestic labor situation in China well, and draws connections between the domestic context and what is happening in Cambodia today. In his Cambodia research, he looks not only at Cambodian workers but also Chinese workers in the country, and finds more similarities between their precarity than often understood. Read a few of his new articles, "As far apart as earth and sky," "Outsourcing Exploitation," and "At the Roots of Labour Activism."And check out our recommendations: Ivan: 1) Briefing Paper: Reassessing China's Investment Footprint in Cambodia by Mark Grimsditch, Inclusive Development International Juliet: 1) Afterlives of Chinese Communism (ed. Ivan Franceschini, Nicholas Loubere, Christian Sorace)2) Dreamwork China (Documentary) 3) Boramey: Ghosts in the Factory (Documentary - coming soon!)Erik: 1) Belt and Road Decision-Making in China and Recipient Countries: How and To What Extent Does Sustainability Matter? by Thomas hale, Chuyu Liu, Johannes Urpelainen2) Michael Clayton (film) :)