Maria Adele Carrai is an Assistant Professor of Global China Studies at New York University (NYU) Shanghai. Her research explores the history of international law in East Asia and investigates how China’s rise as a global power is shaping norms and redefining the international distribution of power. Before joining NYU Shanghai, she was a recipient of a three-year Marie Curie Fellowship at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.
Since the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, Chinese official discourse has emphasised the Initiative’s continuity with the past. The reinvention of Eurasian history and heritage have become key aspects of both the promotion of the BRI and China’s chronopolitics. This essay examines China’s political use of history and heritage in the context of the BRI, along with the related risks and geopolitical implications