SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

The roles of local governments in China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Sichuan case study

Dominik Mierzejewski
Professor Dominik Mierzejewski (University of Lodz)

Date: 11 February 2019Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 11 February 2019Time: 6:30 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G3

Type of Event: Seminar

Book a place


The roles of local governments in China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Sichuan case study discusses the rationale and adoption of Belt and Road at the local level in China. It does so by analyzing the evolution of role and the roles of local governments in Chinese foreign policy since the era of opening up and reform of China after 1978 with special regard to post-2013 policy in China. With the opening up, the regional actors competed with each other and the central government was forced to react to local government and community needs in their foreign activities. At the end this interaction between local and central governments led Beijing to shape more centralized policies towards sub-national actors.

The major argument here is that the Belt and Road Initiative serves as the vehicle for managing and coordinating development at the local level. In the first part of the seminar Professor Dominik Mierzejewsk discusses the theoretical understanding of subnational actors’ involvement in China’s external actions, and in the second, the case study of Sichuan province is analyzed. According to the Sichuan local governments’ reports delivered in the local People’s Congresses, the province positions itself as the most vigorous, active and optimist province vis a vis Belt and Road Initiative. This seminar examines the following questions:  how does the central government perceive Sichuan’s role in the Belt and Road Initiative? what are the future plans for the regional development of Sichuan province? what are the significant indicators for defining Sichuan's role in the Chinese central government's political initiative? and how does the Sichuan province perform under the Belt and Road Initiative? The main argument here centres on the assumption that the Belt and Road Initiative has, on the one hand, expanded the decision-making powers of provinces over their investments, while, on the other hand, the centre is also strengthening its coordination of provincial economic policies. 


Dominik Mierzejewski is Chair at the Center for Asian Affairs (University based think-tank) and Professor at the Department of Asian Studies, Faculty of International and Political Studies, University of Lodz, Poland. He studied at the Shanghai International Studies University (1999-2000, 2003-2004), was an intern at the Heritage Foundation and was awarded the Jan Karski scholarship by the American Center of Polish Culture in 2003. He was a visiting professor in the Chinese Academy of Social Science, with a grant from the Polish Foundation for Science (2010-2011). He is a member of the Association for Asian Studies, European International Studies Association, and was a board member of the European Association for Chinese Studies from 2008-2014. He is the vice editor-in-chief of “Azja-Pacyfik” yearbook, “Journal of Contemporary Eastern Asia” (Austria/South Korea) and “Sinologia Hispanica”. His research focuses on China’s political development, rhetoric of Chinese foreign policy and local governments involvement in China’s foreign policy. He has published two monographs: Between Morality and Pragmatism: Dezideologization of the Rhetoric of China’s Diplomacy (Lodz 2013) and China’s Selective Identities: State, Ideology and Culture (co-author, Palgrave 2019). He has also published dozens of articles in Singapore, United Kingdom and the Unites States.


This event is open to the public and free to attend, however registration is required. Online Registration

Chair: Professor Steve Tsang

Organiser: SOAS China Institute

Contact email:

Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4823