Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 73 ›› Issue (4): 620-636.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201804003

• Commemoration of the 100th Brithday of Late Academician Wu Chuanjun • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Progress in research on the Belt and Road Initiative

LIU Weidong1,2,SONG Zhouying1,2,LIU Zhigao1,2,YEERKEN Wuzhati1,2,SONG Tao1,2,NIU Fangqu1,2,HAN Mengyao1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2018-01-29 Online:2018-04-20 Published:2018-04-10


The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has changed from a China-based initiative to an international consensus, and is becoming a platform for a growing number of countries in the world to explore new international economic governance mechanisms. Such a great change along with impressive achievements of BRI development has attracted academic attention from almost all disciplines except basic sciences, giving rise to huge literature. This paper will first explore data from China Knowledge Resource Integrated Database to summarize the characteristics of literature on BRI in general, and then review progress in research on major BRI topics related to geography. The paper finds: (1) the number of Chinese papers on BRI increased by 21 times in three years, from 1012 in 2014 to 21216 in 2017; (2) these papers cover various BRI-related topics but most of them are macroscopic and very general studies of BRI with a taste of public voices, implying that quality papers with deep academic studies are demanded to support the BRI development; (3) more frequently discussed topics are China's outward foreign direct investment, facilities connection, "going out", globalization, global economic governance, community of shared destiny and internationalization of Renminbi; and (4) specific topics that are more deeply studied by geographers are connotation and discourse of BRI, geopolitical analysis of BRI, China-Europe Express Train, global strategic shipping pivot, model of China's outward foreign direct investment and overseas industrial parks, trade pattern and its impacts on economic growth of both China and its trade partners. Lastly, the paper suggests enhancing the discursive construction of BRI and studies of new BRI mechanisms as well as studies of countries involved in BRI, and promoting dialogues and collaborations between Chinese scholars and foreign scholars on BRI studies.

Key words: inclusive globalization, geopolitics, China-Europe Express Train, China's outward foreign direct investment, trade pattern, Belt and Road Initiative