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Remaking China’s Global Image with the Belt and Road Initiative: Is the Jury Out?

Jianhong Qi, Kam Ki Tang (), Da Yin and Yong Zhao ()
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Jianhong Qi: School of Economics, Shandong University, Jinan, 250100, China
Da Yin: School of Economics, Renmin University of China, Beijing,100872, China
Yong Zhao: Institute of China’s Economic Reform and Development, Renmin University of China, Beijing,100872, China

No 635, Discussion Papers Series from University of Queensland, School of Economics

Abstract: In this paper, we investigate how foreign economic policy may affect a country’s global image or soft power. Our empirical work focuses on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), one of the most ambitious international economic policies in modern times, that covers more than 70 countries across the globe. We find evidence that international opinions on China are diverse but not polarized. We also find that the BRI has curried favor for China in the related countries. On average, the BRI increases net public approval rating of the Chinese leadership in these countries by more than 15 percentage points. Interestingly, the BRI arouses approving foreign opinions more than quietens disapproving voices. Finally, countries that have stronger trade, foreign direct investment or political ties with China do not necessarily respond to the BRI more favorably, while those contracting more infrastructure projects with Chinese firms do.

Keywords: Global image; Public approval; Belt and Road Initiative; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F02 F42 R11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-08-25
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cna and nep-int
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