Leading U.S. think tanks including CSIS and international media outlets like the Financial Times have settled on a narrative that the sharp reduction in Chinese overseas development lending provides the clearest evidence to date that China’s Belt and Road Initiative is “pulling back” or being “curtailed.”
But measuring the BRI’s health purely on the basis of Chinese lending patterns misses a lot of important data points that provide insights into the relative strength of Beijing’s global trade agenda, according to leading China development scholar Stella Hong Zhang from George Mason University.
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