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Indigenous interpretations and engagement of China's Belt and Road initiative in Peninsular Malaysia

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-05-20, 10:50 authored by Y Cai

Based on long-term ethnographic study of the Indigenous Mah Meri communities at Carey Island and Orang Seletar communities at Danga Bay, both in Peninsular Malaysia, I critically examine local interpretations and engagement of China-backed investments promoted under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Although these investments have encroached on their native customary territories and destroyed the natural environment which they depend on for their livelihoods, the Indigenous communities tend to perceive them as acts of land grabbing by the Malaysian political and economic elites, rather than a form of neo-imperialism by mainland Chinese firms. My study underscores the need to attend to Indigenous politics and alternative forms of imaginaries in understanding the impacts of China-backed investments. It complicates the dominant literature on the BRI by revealing more intricate nuances of the grounded realities, focusing on the perspectives of the Indigenous people, who hold customary rights to lands and territories under development.

Funding

UCL Graduate Research Scholarship

UCL Overseas Research Scholarship

History

Citation

Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 2022, https://doi.org/10.1111/sjtg.12437

Author affiliation

School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography

Publisher

Wiley

issn

0129-7619

eissn

1467-9493

Acceptance date

2022-02-20

Copyright date

2022

Available date

2022-05-20

Language

en

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