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Vol. 1 No. 1 (2022): JBDTP Inaugural Issue

Global Perception of the Belt and Road Initiative: A Natural Language Processing Approach

February 1, 2021


In less than seven years since the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), 138 countries have signed on to the program, with by some counts 118 projects being planned. BRI is a Chinese multi-trillion-dollar global infrastructure initiative that has geopolitical implications for both the participating as well as non-participating countries. Some of the very appealing unique selling points of this initiative also make it controversial amongst its stakeholders. This variation in sentiments can be perceived in the media reporting where there is freedom of expression. In this paper, we have used sentiment analysis to gauge the variation in the stakeholder perception over time across three groups - China, participating and non-participating countries. Our analysis of 7,856 news articles has provided quantitative evidence of declining positive sentiment over time.