RSIS Seminar by Professor Dominik Mierzejewski, Head, Center for Asian Affairs, and University Professor, Department of Asian Studies, Faculty of International and Political Studies, University of Lodz and Dr Przemyslaw Ciborek, Research Fellow, Center for Asian Affairs, University of Lodz
China’s Provincial Governments and the Belt and Road Initiative
Most analyses present the BRI as China’s grand strategy based on imperial approaches supported by the PRC government. This, however, is only part of the complex picture. Taking the domestic perspective, the BRI is illustrated by discussing central-local dyadic relations from the longer post-1978 perspective. In the first part, the paper shed light on the central-provincial government relations by discussing continuity of fragmentation and decentralization in China, with horizontal competition between provinces under Deng Xiaoping and the centralization approaches by Xi Jinping. The second part discusses the origins of the Belt and Road Initiative and its evaluations as a central government vertical management tool that allows Beijing’s central government to centralize the local players’ interests and navigate their horizontal competition into more coordinated directions. The last part of the paper, based on the case study of Sichuan province’s involvement in China’s external relations presents the reality check and discusses the approaches to the central government initiative of the Belt and Road from the local level.
About the Speakers
Dominik Mierzejewski is Head of the CAA UL; a Professor at Department of Asian Studies at the Faculty of International and Political Studies; Chinese language studies at Shanghai International Studies University; internship at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC; Jan Karski Scholarship from the American Centre for Polish Cutlure; visiting professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing (scholarship of the Foundation for Polish Science); member of the Asia-Pacific Council, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Poland; principal investigator in grants supported by the National Science Centre, Horizon 2020, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Poland, and KGHM; specializes in the rhetoric of Chinese diplomacy, China’s relations with the Global South, political transformation of the PRC and the role of provinces in Chinese foreign policy. Author of “China’s Provinces and the Belt and Road Initiative” (Routledge 2021).
Przemyslaw Ciborek is a Research Fellow at the Center for Asian Affairs at the University of Lodz; a PhD candidate at the Department of East Asian Studies, Faculty of International and Political Studies; non-resident research scholar at The Sigur Center for Asian Affairs, The George Washington University (2021-2023); Chinese language course scholarship at Tianjin University of Science and Technology (2015); intern of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Beijing at the Political, Consular and Agricultural Section (2015); principal investigator in the research project China’s multilateralism in the context of the Sino-American interactions in Central and Southeast Europe and co-investigator in the research projects: The role of local governments in China’s foreign policy, and Sino-American political and economic interactions in the time of COVID-19; specializes in the Chinese foreign policy towards Central and Eastern Europe regarding Chinese investment policy towards Balkan Peninsula countries.