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China's Belt and Road Is Getting a Reboot to Clean Up Its Image

Apr 23, 2019

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s grand Belt and Road Initiative is getting a makeover to tone down government rhetoric and tighten oversight, after allegations of corruption and a lack of sustainability dogged some of its highest-profile projects.

Beijing is taking a range of steps to exert more control over the program, officials and participants said, including a more muted publicity drive, clearer rules for state-owned-enterprises, restricting use of the BRI brand, and building overseas auditing and anti-corruption mechanisms. It’s also stepping up efforts to get developed nations to join in to spread the risk of building projects in poorer nations and to counter allegations that BRI is just an attempt to build China’s political influence.

China’s Foreign Ministry referred questions for comment to the National Development and Reform Commission. The State Council Information Office and NDRC didn’t reply to faxes seeking for comment about the Belt and Road Initiative.

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