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A new Silk Road China)
2018

As the world's leading economic power, the People's Republic of China, through its President Xi Jinping, launches in 2013 the Yi Dai Yi Lu Initiative ("Belt and Road Initiative"), a gigantic investment programme in road, rail and maritime infrastructure to be built in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Between nostalgia for past imperial grandeur and desire to open up China to contemporary globalization, this large-scale project aims to revive the mythical "Silk Road" opened under the Hans dynasty, and the commercial dynamics between Europe and Asia that it allowed between the 2nd BC in the 15th century AD. Today, the new silk roads, which will have to cross 68 countries, involve the construction of infrastructures but also the simplification of trade procedures. With a budget that will probably exceed the trillion dollars and with the creation of an "Asian Investment Bank for Infrastructure", it is a strategic investment for China which expects to be linked to 65% of the world population and 30% of GDP.


David Monteleone has undertaken to trace the sketch of one of these future routes: from Yiwu, in southeast China, to the dry port of Khorgos in the northwest, up to to the shores of the Caspian Sea and the port of Aktau in Kazakhstan. If the landscape is inevitably transformed by the building sites, the previously deserted territories have also already been modified: from the railway employee to the restaurant owner to the shopkeeper, thousands of inhabitants now flock to take advantage of the benefits of this new commercial corridor. Huge cities are thus being built with a view to making them the new nerve centres of the world economy.

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