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In 2013, President Xi Jinping announced his vision of the Belt and Road Initiative at the University of Astana in Kazakhstan. China promotes the BRI as a joint initiative in the interest of the world community, it could however be argued that this initiative’s ultimate goal is to create a “Sinocentric community of shared destiny.” The apparent incongruence between these motives questions the traditional Western conception of the reality of International Relations. Using a discourse analysis that integrates the vision behind the BRI within the history of Chinese Thought, this paper argues that the BRI is the foreign policy expression of the Chinese Dream, combining liberal universal development with the ambition to regain China's position at “the centre of the world stage.” While for most in the West this liberal and realist composite is a contradiction, the duality of reality seems not to be perceived as a paradox in Chinese thought. To fully understand the Chinese vision, we will thus have to look at it through the eyes of those dreaming it.


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19 Jul 2022
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  • Alternative title
    • The “Chinese Dream”

  • Journal title
    • International Social Science Review

  • Volume
    • 96

  • Issue
    • 1

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Keywords
  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Henrik Yann Louis Pröpper is a student in (BSc) Political Science, (BSc) Psychology and Law (pre-master) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). He would like to thank Gaston Charles-Tijmens, Shannon Requin-Delfau, Augustas Dagys, and Sieme Gewald for help with the first draft of this paper.