Yifei Li is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at NYU Shanghai, and Global Network Assistant Professor at NYU. Prior to joining NYU Shanghai, he taught sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Li’s research examines environmental governance in China, focusing on questions about bureaucracy, urban sustainability, and disaster resilience. His recent work has appeared in Current Sociology, Environmental Sociology, Journal of Environmental Management, and other scholarly outlets. He has received research support from the United States National Science Foundation, the University of Chicago Center in Beijing, the China Times Cultural Foundation, the Shanghai Municipal Government and other extramural sources.
「 Greening the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Global Environmental Politics in the Age of Global China 」
In 2013, President Xi Jinping’s government launched the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which in a very short time has grown into global China’s signature project for the twenty-first century. With the BRI’s heavy emphasis on mega-infrastructural investments, natural resource extraction, and development in ecologically sensitive areas, its environmental implications are bound to be far-reaching. Our investigation into different development projects under the BRI suggests that a work-in-progress framework of development has emerged. It is a technocratic, expert-driven, and state-centric model of development. Our findings suggest that the BRI is by no means a discrete set of projects cobbled together under some generic notion, but a concerted effort to underscore a carefully crafted approach of development with Chinese characteristics. We further contend that, through the BRI, China is attempting to export its model of state-led environmentalism beyond its borders, ushering in a new era of global environmental governance.