A list of frequently asked questions about this project


This is a list of frequently asked questions about this project.

What is ‘Global China’?

Empirically, Global China refers to the global dissemination of Chinese capital, human resources, institutions, norms, and practices. This takes many different forms, ranging from outbound foreign direct investment, labour exports, migration, multilateral financial institutions, infrastructure projects, globalisation of Chinese nongovernmental organisations, Chinese-funded global media networks, joint ventures in higher education, cultural diplomacy, globalisation of medical aid, and environmental initiatives, to name just a few examples. Analytically, these projects are also power processes that entail forms of resistance and adaptation involving host governments, societies, and communities. This map is an attempt to trace Global China in material, spatial, economic, political, and human terms reflecting the experiences of  the people most affected by its emergence.

How is this a ‘people’s’ map?

This is a ‘people’s’ map in two ways. First, our content attempts to trace the global imprint of China focussing on the experiences of the  people most affected by it. For this reason, you will discover that our profiles have a strong focus on issues related to labour rights, environment, land, Indigenous communities, etc. Second, our map relies on the input of a growing network of people who often hail from the places they are discussing, who have been conducting in-depth research on the various facets of Global China in their localities, and/or are working directly with communities impacted by these projects. Without their expertise and contributions, this project simply could not exist.

How to navigate the map?

There are several ways to navigate the map. First, you can just explore the map itself at this link, where you can look at the  various project profiles that we feature (the default setting), or you can visualise the countries and routes for which we already have profiles (for that, you will have to click on the relevant ‘layer’ in the top-right corner). Alternatively, to see a list of the project profiles we have uploaded so far, you can visit our project database, which includes a series of filters that will allow you to cross-search the projects by a number of criteria (the usefulness of this function will grow as we keep adding new content). The Map will be constantly updated, with the number of project and country profiles growing as we receive new submissions.

How is your map different from other maps out there?

More than a data-collecting exercise, our map is envisioned as a bridge between an academic community that tends to focus on the macro-level structure, history, and trends, and civil society organisations that instead tend to focus on the micro-level. In this sense, we aim to facilitate synergy and cross-pollination between academia and civil society. On top of that, while remaining solidly grounded in empirical data, our map is not simply a collection of figures and statistics, but has a qualitative focus. Every profile attempts to provide a fully rounded account of Chinese involvement in the project or the country at stake, in a format that (we hope) is informative and readable also for a non-specialist audience.

What does your logo mean?

We decided to use the Chinese character 众 (zhòng, that is ‘many’, ‘numerous’, ‘crowd’) superimposed on a globe to represent the idea of  the ‘people’ that is at the core of this project. 众 is composed of three 人 (rén), a character that taken individually means ‘person’. 人 also constitutes the first part of  the politically loaded term 人民 (rénmín), the ‘people’ that to this day feature prominently in the very name of the People’s Republic of China. By using  众 instead of 人, we chose to put the emphasis on the collective nature of this project and on the idea of the ‘multitude’ that is behind it.

Who is behind this project and where is the funding coming from?

Ching Kwan Lee and Ivan Franceschini began discussing this project in 2019, but what you see today is the result of a collective effort by the whole editorial board, with significant input from the network of contributors and the webmaster. The project is implemented by the Made in China Journal, with financial support from the Global China Centre at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology,  the Australian Centre on China in the World at The Australian National University, the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies at Lund University, and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. At this link, you can find a complete list of the individuals and organisations that have contributed content to the map.

How do you select the projects included in the map?

At this early stage, we are focussing on projects that are at the centre of significant discussions due to their (actual or expected) impacts on local societies, but in the future we hope to expand our focus to less known projects.

What methodology did you use to produce the profiles featured on the map?

Since the contributors to the map come from very diverse backgrounds, to ensure that our content maintains some basic consistency, we prepared templates with specific instructions for both country and project profiles.

Country profiles are structured in five parts: a) an historical background, that provides an outline of the development of the country’s bilateral relations with China since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 (although some authors also choose to go back much further); b) an explanation of the country’s stance towards the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which we deemed necessary to include considering that the BRI has become an overarching framework for China’s international economic relations since 2015; c) a brief description of the current bilateral economic relations, structured in four segments, i.e. trade, investment, aid, and other finance; d) a critical discussion of the key controversies in bilateral relations, in which the authors are required to tackle the issues that are at the centre of significant debates when it comes to China’s engagements with the country; and e) some key sources for those readers who are interested in getting a deeper understanding of the situations described in the profile.

Project profiles are structured in four parts: a) a list of basic information about the project, including not only the project type, location, and cost, but also the Chinese developers, contractors, and financiers involved (this section is particularly important, as it provides the filters according to which the profiles are catalogued in the map database); b) a project outline that describes the background of the project, covering the Five Ws (What? Where? Why? When? Who?); c) a discussion of the impacts of the project on local society, first as a short summary structured as a bullet point and then in narrative form (these impacts can be either positive or negative); and d) some key sources for those who want to read more about the project.

Once the contributors submit the first draft of their profile, the article goes through several rounds of editing. The editors not only edit it for style, check the sources, and require clarifications for those passages that are either unclear or not supported by hard evidence, but where possible they also send it out to other scholars and practitioners with relevant expertise to seek their feedback. After the profile has gone through this process, it is published on the map.

How to get in touch with corrections or to contribute new content?

We do our best to ensure that our profiles are as precise and up to date as possible. Not only do we require contributors to provide supporting evidence for every claim, but we also invite members of the network with relevant expertise to review each others’ work. However,  there is always a chance that mistakes slip in. To bring to our attention any problem with the information included in one of our profiles or to pitch new content, please fill in our contact form.

Can your content be republished elsewhere?

Yes. Our content is published under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). This means that you can republish it as long as you give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. Also, you may not use the material for commercial purposes.