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China is embarking on the largest infrastructure project in history, spanning four continents and attempting to link the old Silk Road to Europe — and back to China.

Why it matters: China is increasingly asserting its economic power, and seeking to bolster its global influence. It is undertaking this project at a time when the U.S. can't pass a domestic infrastructure project, and is taking a step back from the world.

Expand chart
Adapted from a Mercator Institute for China Studies map; Map: Lazaro Gamio / Axios
By the numbers
  • $1 trillion or more is the expected price tag, the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos reports. That's seven times as costly as the Marshall Plan, on which the U.S. spent $130 billion to rebuild Europe after World War II.
  • 70 countries will be involved in the initiative, Chinese news outlet Xinhua reports.
  • At least 36 planned or existing ports outside of China are involved.
  • $786 billion in trade took place between China and Belt and Road partners in the first three quarters of 2017, a 15% increase from 2016.
  • In Pakistan: China is partnering with Pakistan to build $60 billion worth of infrastructure as part of the initiative, CNBC reports.
  • In Thailand: The Chinese partnership with Thailand is expected to yield a 542-mile railroad, carrying high-speed trains that’ll move at up to 150 miles per hour, per CNBC.
  • In Malaysia: One Belt, One Road will spend about $40 billion on four railroad projects, per Xinhua.
  • The rise: The U.S. controls 24% of the global economy and China 15%, compared to 31% and 4% respectively in 2000.

Go deeper: China wants to reshape the global order

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Beto plans Texas comeback in governor's race

Former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke speaks during the Georgetown to Austin March for Democracy rally on July 31, 2021, in Austin, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to run for governor of Texas in 2022, with an announcement expected later this year, Texas political operatives tell Axios.

Why it matters: O'Rourke's entry would give Democrats a high-profile candidate with a national fundraising network to challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — and give O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman from El Paso and 2020 presidential candidate and voting rights activist, a path to a political comeback.

Texas doctor says he performed an abortion in violation of state law

Pro-choice protesters march down Congress Avenue and back to the Texas state capitol in Austin, Texas, in July 2021. Photo: Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

A Texas doctor disclosed in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Saturday that he has performed an abortion in violation of the state's restrictive new abortion law, which effectively bans the procedure after six weeks.

Why it matters: Alan Braid's op-ed is a direct disclosure that will very likely result in legal action, thereby setting it up as a potential test case for how the abortion ban will be litigated, notes the New York Times.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Technology

Axios interview: Facebook to try for more transparency

Nick Clegg last year. Photo: Matthew Sobocinski/USA Today via Reuters

Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, tells me the company will try to provide more data to outside researchers to scrutinize the health of activity on Facebook and Instagram, following The Wall Street Journal's brutal look at internal documents.

Driving the news: Clegg didn't say that in his public response to the series. So I called him to push for what Facebook will actually do differently given the new dangers raised by The Journal.