Building a green Belt and Road: a systematic review and comparative assessment of the Chinese and English-language literature

Hoong Chen Teo, Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, Binbin V. Li, Mingquan Wu, Alex Mark Lechner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


International attention on the environmental impacts of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is increasing, but little is known internationally about the large corpus of Chinese BRI environmental research. We present the first systematic review of the Chinese and English-language BRI environmental research, supported with text mining and sentiment analysis. We found that the research is dominated by Chinese authors writing about BRI routes within China in Chinese, even though concerns around BRI are largely about impacts and benefits within host countries, and the volume of publications in English is recently catching up. Different disciplines and methods are well-represented across languages, apart from specific types of Chinese social science papers. The sentiments of academic research are largely neutral and less polarised than media discourse. We recommend that scientists and practitioners should pay more attention to BRI environmental impacts in developing countries and proactively engage local voices.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0239009
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes

Cite this