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China and the new geopolitics

China's new Silk Road is presented as a technical investment project, but has political effects we cannot possibly overlook.

The material and territorial consequences of China One Belt One Road, also called "The New Silk Road," is incomprehensible, says Aihwa Ong, professor of cultural anthropology. China is going to "re-encode" the entire geopolitical landscape through investments in railways, road networks, deepwater ports, power plants and so-called Special Economic Zones spread across several continents. The big question is whether it will benefit the world, or benefit China only.

Ong has, from various vantage points – including Muslim women's factory work in Malaysia, Chinese diaspora in the upper economic strata and biotechnology in Asia – always researched what she calls "global switching points" (global assemblies). Now, she's exploring how infrastructural technologies are being used to "re-create China" in the country's efforts to implement "self-assertive interventions" beyond national borders.

The infrastructural state. The Silk Road project is about trade, about energy, about production conditions, about engineering. And then act. . .

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Nina Trige Andersen
Trige Andersen is a freelance journalist and historian.

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