Pioneer Scientist of the Belt and Road Initiative Studies


The year of 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Since 2013, LIU Weidong and his team at the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have been intensively engaged in BRI research and made very endeavor to "introduce the BRI to the world". He is one of the pioneers and the most cited scholars in this research field. In 2016, he was invited to report his BRI research results to President XI Jinping at the First Meeting on the Development of the BRI. 

First, he has led his team to undertake a great deal of important studies on BRI, some of which provided support for China's Central Government decision-making. Based on these in-depth studies, he has published several representative academic papers such as Scientific understanding of the Belt and Road Initiative of China and related research themes. These papers systematically analyze the macro background of the BRI, and make discourses about its scientific understanding, construction ideas, spatial corridors and major issues. In particular, he tries to help audience understand the BRI from the perspective of globalization and puts forward a theoretical concept of "inclusive globalization". His studies provided important scientific support for the formulation of the Vision and Action on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Besides, he led the Third-Party Assessment on the Progress of Belt and Road Construction. In making the assessment, he developed a "CAS Connectivity Index”, which systematically and quantitatively evaluates the construction of the Belt and Road from five areas of cooperation priorities. Furthermore, he led the research on Assessments of Green and Inclusive Silk Road Development for Policy-making, which is part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences priority research program titled Pan-Third Pole Environment Study for Green Silk Road Development. Based on field trip of more than 20 countries, this research expounded the overall characteristics and development trends of society, economy, resources, and environment along the Belt and Road, carried out more than 30 in-depth case studies on overseas construction projects, and proposed a road-map towards green and inclusive Silk Road development. Supported by this project, LIU Weidong and his team have published five important monographs, among which, Joint Construction of Green Silk Road: Social, Economic and Environmental Context (2019) played a role at the Green Silk Road Forum at Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. 

Second, he has been actively promoting the research and academic interaction of BRI. One the one hand, he promoted the theoretical research of BRI by developing his theory of “inclusive globalization”. On the basis of analysis of neo-liberal globalization and practical research of BRI, he published the book The Belt and Road Initiative: A pathway towards inclusive globalization (2019), which has been widely recognized by scholars. On the other hand, he is one of the most cited scholars in the field of BRI studies. He has published more than 40 articles on BRI in academic journals, including articles in journals such as Dialogue in Human Geography, Progress in Human Geography, Political Geography, and Area Development and Policy. Among them, the article Scientific understanding of the Belt and Road Initiative of China and related research themes has been downloaded nearly 100,000 times on CNKI and cited more than 1,300 times. Besides, he has led the publication of 12 monographs on BRI in Chinese as well as in English.  

Third, he has been promoting the publicity of BRI. He has been interviewed for more than 50 times on BRI topics by CCTV, Beijing TV, Jiangsu TV, People's Daily, People's Daily Online, Xinhuanet, and China News Network. Among them, he was interviewed or reported by the CCTV news for more than 10 times. On June 5th, 2022, he was invited to CCTV's China Economic Lecture Hall and gave a speech entitled "The Belt and Road Initiative: Leading a New Era of Inclusive Globalization", giving an in-depth interpretation of the BRI. 

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