China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an umbrella term for a mind-boggling range of extractive activities. The BRI is so vaguely conceptualized and understood, even within China, that the phrase has become a metaphorical catch-all for nearly all of China’s international investments and projects. The BRI not only inflicts material violence on the people of Eurasia, Africa, Latin America and beyond, but also subjects them to discursive violence, depriving their state officials of the language to account for the injustices they suffer or to articulate resistance to projects that are framed as patently beneficial. China’s anxiety about feeding itself is deeply embedded in the national psyche. Owing to the country’s unfavorable arable-land-to-population ratio, with most of the arable land limited to the more developed Eastern parts of the country, famines have marked dynastic history. China is no stranger to revisionist history or the commodification of culture.