How Western Media Sees the Belt and Road

Tom Baxter looks at the frames through which Western reporters present the BRI

Ed: This article is a repost from Panda Paw, Dragon Claw, a new website about China’s footprint abroad founded by Ma Tianjie, who also blogs at Chublic Opinion. The site, in their words, “aims to promote civilian-centered storytelling by providing a platform for documenting, reflecting and critiquing Chinese “storytelling” about its footprint overseas … in a dialogue with their international peers.” Below is one of their earliest posts, by editor Tom Baxter on media coverage of the Belt and Road (BRI) , a central concern of the blog. Later, we will also publish one of their deep dives into impacts of the BRI on Chinese communities in Laos.

In April this year, the China-Africa scholar Deborah Brautigam published an article in the Washington Post which fact checked and myth-busted Western media reporting on China’s role in Africa. It included the debunking of such commonly held assumptions as: Chinese companies’ investments and projects not providing jobs or skills to local communities; Chinese banks’ loans as predatory and burdensome; and China as a land-grabbing power, a notion whose implications of colonialism by stealth Brautigam debunks as straight up fake news.