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Implications of Chinese diplomacy and foreign policy on foreign students’ perception of Belt and Road Initiative

China’s engagement with the world has been evolving to reflect its various economic developments, and although China’s economic progress since 2010 may not be a shock to many, its recent dramatic re-emergence at the centre of global politics has thrown familiar issues into a sharp relief. One such issue is the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which has been of key interest to policy makers, and which, since 2015, has expanded immensely to link China with Asia, Europe and Africa, boosting trade, development and cultural exchange throughout a broad infrastructure network. This paper presents the findings of a study that was designed to examine the implications of Chinese foreign policy on the perceptions of BRI among foreign students of the East China Normal University in Shanghai, China. The findings of the study reveal that the foreign students’ perceptions of BRI are influenced by how Chinese foreign policy is and was perceived in their respective home countries, and that the experience of living in China had little or no impact in changing their established perceptions. Based on these findings, the study concludes that, the future implementation of BRI will be highly influenced by the existing Chinese diplomatic relations, and as such recommends the consolidation and expansion of China’s existing diplomatic relations if it desires a smoother and better adoption of the BRI in other countries.


BRI, Chinese foreign policy, geo-political, economic; perceptions


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