The FT raises questions about the durability of Belt+Road. Is the world’s biggest development programme unravelling? Is China facing a major debt crisis as it renegotiates debts with recipients of Chinese investment?
The UK think-tank, Chatham House, asserts that Xi’s new policy of “dual circulation” is a step back from BRI as China places greater emphasis on her domestic market and less on commerce with the outside world.
Critics hope China is in trouble – that it has over-reached itself, made too many bold claims that cannot be realised. And they personalise it as a setback for Xi himself.
Certainly the pandemic has changed the agenda. All countries are affected and donor recipients will be looking for relief. Time will tell the extent to which China is affected. For the present, China’s economy is growing; significant foreign investors are deepening their involvement in China; businesses are voting with their feet and converting 50% ownership of their new offices in China to 100%.