Frames and facilitators by China in promoting the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)


Interdisciplinary Studies

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Much larger than the U.S. Marshall Plan, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with over $5 trillion global infrastructure projects, is a major undertaking by the international communities, proposed by the Chinese government. Adopting a multimethod approach of employing textual analysis, participant observation, and framing analysis, this article uncovers that Chinese government and state‐run media promote BRI with proper rhetorical frames and institutional facilitators. The six frames are “Development,” “Mutual respect and mutual trust,” “Ancient Silk Road Story,” “Action Speaks Louder than Words,” “China is a Partner, not a Colonialist,” and “Win‐Win.” Since 1949 and especially in the past two decades, China has cultivated a global ecosystem with at least nine facilitators that support BRI. These facilitators are Chinese Soft Power, South–South Cooperation, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China & ASEAN FTA, RCEP, 16+1, AIIB, Silk Road Fund, and The New Development Bank. With BRI, China leads a new wave of globalization: Globalization 5.0. This article proposes a three‐step strategy for Western companies to benefit from the China‐led Belt and Road Initiative: from rising above pre‐existing frames in your mind (stereotypes), to be open minded for new frames (new thinking), to participate in BRI for win–win outcomes (opportunities).

Journal Title

Thunderbird International Business Review

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Digital Object Identifier (DOI)