Intellectuals within China have expressed concerns about wasteful spending and overstretch. Several governments that were initially enthusiastic about Chinese investment have faced popular backlash to the terms of the loans and the potential for corruption. And the United States has recently joined countries in Europe and the Indo-Asia-Pacific region in an effort to counter the Chinese endeavor with an alternative investment scheme.
Instead of expanding its “circle of friends” and gaining influence, China seems to have done the opposite, spurring a group of disgruntled countries to band together to resist its predatory practices. Some observers claim that the Chinese leadership fails to understand the dynamics that have led other countries to push back and that this blindness increases the likelihood that Xi’s “project of the century” will soon become a fiasco.