chapter  9
The roles of local governments in the New Silk Road 1
WithDominik Mierzejewski
Pages 18

The chapter analyses the evolution of the role of local governments in Chinese foreign policy since Xi Jinping announced China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In the first part, theoretical approaches in the Western and Chinese narratives with the special emphasis on the work of Ivo Duchacek and Alexander Kuznetsov, and Chen Zhimin and Su Changhe, are discussed. Moreover, in this part the official discourse presented by the central government of China of bridgeheads (qiaotoubao) and checkers (paitoubing). Next, the issue of a multilateral platform announced by China and developing countries is examined, with cases from BRICS, Central Europe and Latin America. Furthermore, the role of Chinese overseas involvement in China’s external actions through the local to local relations is presented. Thereby the central government has used local governments in shaping China’s foreign policy. Finally the paper discuss the case study of Sichuan province’s interaction with the rest of the world. In this part, the major development plans of Sichuan, e.g. implementation of the BRI at the local level with the ‘251 Executive Plan’, and the direction of Sichuan province’s external interaction will be analysed. This chapter will prove the thesis that the Belt and Road is a tool for more centralised foreign policy and that central government has taken a division of labour approach.