1. Institute of Urban Development and Research, East China Normal University, Shanghai, 200062, China 2. Department of Geography, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China 3. Faculty of Architecture, the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong,China 4. Faculty of Engneering, the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong,China 5. School of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361000, Fujian, China
‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) was proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013 when he visited Kazakhstan and Indonesia. It is now the core regional development strategy in China. A series of studies (mainly in Chinese) have been conducted to provide the contextual knowledge or suggestion for this strategy. However, a theoretical examination of OBOR remains at the very superficial level among existing scholarship. This study aims to analyze the nature and impacts of OBOR from the perspective of rescaling and scalar politics, with a balanced consideration on the political geographical mechanisms and potential risks for promoting OBOR. It is argued that OBOR reshapes the roles and territoriality of Chinese state and produces a number of new geographical scales based on construction of international infrastructure, capital flows and trade cooperation. Specifically, the state power is re-territoralized through forming new international organizations and investing in the international infrastructure; the importance of some large cities are also highlighted as the nodes of OBOR. In other words, the inter-national processes are embedded in sub-national regions or new state spaces, confirming the previous theories on ‘localization’. The rescaling strategies enable China to gain more influence on Eurasian geo-political and economic processes and more space to accelerate its capital accumulation. This echoes Lefebvre's arguments that the spatial fix of urban growth is based on scalar fixes. Therefore, it is interesting to note that the scale and power relations are mutually constructed. On the one hand, scale is produced and reconstructed by both international and domestic political powers and capitals; on the other hand, the rescaling processes have great impacts on the existing power relations and capital accumulation. The perspective of scalar politics suggests that there are some potential hindrance and risks behind this new initiative. At the international level, China is not only facing complex up-scaling forces related to the multilateral and international relations and local unrests, but also confronting the down-scaling forces based on the existing boundary and scalar discourses. At the domestic level, OBOR may lead to excessive competition, over accumulation and repeated construction due to local protectionism determined by the political promotion system in China. Some potential risks may also be caused by Xinjiang separatists, who can get supports easier than with the further opening of China to the rest of the world in the OBOR strategy. China must cope with these scalar politics actively in order to promote "one belt one road" strategy. This research has much policy implication for Chinese government to smooth the mechanisms of scalar politics on internationalization and reduce the potential risks of oversea investment, inter-national cooperation and regional governance. This aticle also furthers the understanding of scale in human geography by integrating discussions of rescaling and scalar politics from different sub-disciplines.
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<h2 class="secHeading" id="section_abstract">Abstract</h2><p id="">In this article, we criticize the bipolar polemic on globalization that tends to be limited to arguing over its desirability or destructiveness, and argue that it is necessary to probe deeper into the power relationships that are produced by the restructuring of relationships in time and space. The theoretical debate on politics of scale opens the way to investigate the reconfiguration of scalar organization in capitalism, which has complex and contradictory effects on power relations. It demonstrates that oppositional politics can ‘jump scale’ by rearticulating issues at larger scales to mobilize leverage. We criticize the debate on ‘politics of scale’ for leaving several central questions relatively unexplored: what is the actual relation between jumping scale and empowerment, and what type of empowerment are we talking about? With reference to a case study of a mining conflict in Tambogrande, Peru, we discuss the way in which local farmers were able to network with organizations at national and international scales and rearticulate their claims at these scales. The case demonstrates that globalization enabled <em>the opposition</em> narrative to be rescaled. Hence, globalization can be seen as a redistribution of potential for empowerment. The case also shows, however, that rescaling necessitated a rearticulation of political claims to accommodate hegemonic discourses at the national and international scales.</p>