Four trillion U.S. dollars of planned investments in 65 countries representing 70 percent of the world's population, 55 percent of its GDP, and 75 percent of its energy reserves: China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is by far the largest scale global development project in the many thousands of years of human history.
Spanning the entire Eurasian landmass from Eastern China to Western Europe, covering the continent of Africa and the countries of East and Southeast Asia, the BRI has a growing global influence as more and more countries sign up.
However, some have tried to foment opposition to the BRI by claiming it involves under-the-table dealings and lacks transparency. This is kind of ridiculous. The accusatory voices are loud, but none are backed up with evidence.
Rather than arguing against the accusations, it is better to analyze the reasons behind them. What are the motives of the critics?
For many American policymakers, the United States can only feel safe if it maintains its global dominance. Also, many in the U.S. are deeply wedded to the notion that American-style values and governance are not only the best for the U.S, but must also be foisted by persuasion or force on the rest of the world.
The BRI offers countries around the world an alternative development path to the American-led system.
The initiative is creating a vast integrated market centered on the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa that will be many times larger and, in not too distant future, more advanced than that of the U.S. These BRI countries can chart their own course without interference from outside countries.
As these countries become more independent, the U.S. loses influence in the eyes of the international community, and so it is doing all it can to discredit the BRI.
Who should you believe?
When words and numbers collide, the numbers win.
The China-Europe container trains have become a powerful support for the development of the Belt and Road Initiative. /Xinhua Photo.
Currently, China's economy is growing three times faster than that of the U.S. In dollar terms, China is adding about 800 billion U.S. dollars per year to the global economy compared to 400 billion U.S. dollars from the U.S.
But perhaps more importantly, the Chinese people are happier with their lives and more hopeful about their futures. According to the Pew Research Center, 96 percent of Chinese said their standard of living was better than that of their parents and 87 percent said they were satisfied with their country’s direction.
但也许更重要的是，中国人民觉着自己的生活更幸福，对未来更满怀希望。皮尤研究中心 (Pew Research Center) 的调查显示，96 %的中国人认为自己的生活水平高于父辈的生活水平，87 %的人表示自己对国家的发展方向感到满意。
The Chinese people also trust their government. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, in 2018 China topped a 28-market ranking of average public trust in institutions. Moreover, the Chinese people's trust in their government reached the barometer's "highest recorded levels" —84 percent of the general public and 89 percent of the "informed public" trusted China's government.
中国人民也信任政府。埃德尔曼信任度晴雨表（Edelman Trust Barometer）显示，2018年，在28个接受调查的国家和地区中，中国政府信任度位居榜首，且达到了晴雨表的“历史最高水平”：84 %的普通民众和89 %的“知情公众”信任中国政府。
Trust and confidence in the BRI is spreading beyond China's borders, with Italy recently signing an MOU to join. Other major countries in the EU are likely to follow suit as more and more people learn to discriminate misguided distortions from the actual truth of the BRI.