Rivers of Iron: Railroads and Chinese Power In Southeast Asia

January 20, 2022 | 8:00AM - 9:00AM
Belt & Road, Asian Institute, East Asia

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What can China’s railway initiative teach us about global dominance? The authors of the book Rivers of Iron: Railroads and Chinese Power In Southeast Asia (University of California Press, October 2020) participated in a panel discussion.

The book illuminates the political strengths and weaknesses of the plan, as well as the capacity of the impacted countries to resist, shape, and even take advantage of China’s wide-reaching actions. Using frameworks from the fields of international relations and comparative politics, the authors of Rivers of Iron seek to explain how domestic politics in these eight Asian nations shaped their varying external responses and behaviors. How does China wield power using infrastructure? Do smaller states have agency? How should we understand the role of infrastructure in broader development? Does industrial policy work? And crucially, how should competing global powers respond?

Hosted by Asian Institute.

Watch the event on the AI YouTube channel
Belt & Road, Asian Institute, East Asia


Gregory T. Chin

Associate Professor, Department of Politics, York University

Rachel Silvey

Richard Charles Lee Director of the Asian Institute, Munk School and Professor in the Department of Geography & Planning, University of Toronto

Selina Ho

Assistant Professor and Chair (Master in International Affairs Program) at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

Cheng-Chwee Kuik

Associate Professor and Head of the Centre for Asian Studies, the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies at the National University of Malaysia

David M. Lampton

Professor Emeritus at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); Senior Research Fellow, SAIS Foreign Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins