Executive Intelligence Review
Subscribe to EIR


Belt and Road Initiative in China’s Constitution Takes It Beyond Marshall Plans

Oct. 27, 2017 (EIRNS)—Forbes magazine’s tireless traveller and chronicler of the New Silk Road, Wade Shepard, wrote Oct. 26 on "Why the Belt and Road Is in China’s Constitution" now following the 19th Party Congress. Shepard notes that in the past both Deng Xiaoping and Hu Jintao were able to add their policy formulations to the Chinese Constitution, so it is not unprecedented that Xi Jinping has been able to have two such formulations added.

Shepard refers to these two added precepts as "Xi Jinping thought" (on socialism with Chinese characteristics for the new era,) and "Xi Jinping action" (Shepard’s own term for the Belt and Road Initiative. He gives the official wording of the latter, new constitutional mandate: "Following the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration, and pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative."

The BRI is often characterized as "ten times the Marshall Plan," but the Marshall Plan was very limited politically in time (just four years of operation, 1948-52) and geographically in scope, to just a few Western European countries. Shepard points out, "The Constitutional adoption guarantees that this [the Belt and Road Initiative] will be carried out long into the future."

It has also accelerated. Shepard reports that in 2017 private Chinese companies’ overseas mergers and acquisitions have been cut by 42% from 2016, by a government regulation limiting "speculative" outbound investment, while BRI infrastructure outbound investments have totaled $33 billion through September, compared with $31 billion for all of 2016. Public companies and even provinces and cities are now carrying the ball.

The Communist Party of China itself has reported that Chinese firms (public and private, including banks) have invested $560 billion equivalent in BRI countries since end-2013, and generated $100 billion in tax revenues there.