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Health Silk Road

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eLibrary: Health Silk Road

Version 2.0 (May 2021)


Anabela Santiago (University of Aveiro) Richard T. Griffiths (Leiden University) 

This is the latest version of an electronic library of resources on the public health dimension of China’s BRI. The Library is intended to offer support to teachers and students studying the BRI as part of their undergraduate education and to act as a springboard to individual projects. It defines the BRI countries as those listed in the original scheme by the National Development and Reform Commission (i.e. everything from mainland Asia to Central and Eastern Europe but, excepting Egypt, excluding Africa). Any suggestions will be welcome, please add in the comments.


Policy Documents

8/2017 Beijing Communiqué of The Belt and Road Health Cooperation & Health Silk Road 

8/2017 WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros’s speech at the Belt and Road Forum for Health Cooperation: Towards a Health Silk Road

2/2020-Present US Government, Foreign Assistance for Coronavirus (COVID-19). Collection of over 40 press releases

2/2020-Present European Commission, EU global response to COVID-19. Collection of materials

4/2020 World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2020: Development Committee Communiqué, Press release, 17.4.2020.

6/2020 Joint Statement of the High-level Video Conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation: Combating COVID-19 with Solidarity



Worldometer. Provides daily updates of the progress of the COVID-pandemic

Pandemics in the Past (very partial selective list)

Milan Brahmbhatt Arindam Dutta (2008) On SARS Type Economic Effects during Infectious Disease Outbreaks, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, 4466.

NEW Dasgupta, S and Crunkhorn, R. (2020) ‘A History of pandemics over the ages and the human cost’, The Physician, 6, 2

NEW Frankema, E. and Tworek, H. (2020) ‘Pandemics that changed the world: historical reflections on COVID-19’, Journal of Global History, 6.11.2020

Frith, J. (2012) The History of Plague – Part 1. The Three Great Pandemics, Journal of Military and Veteran’s Health, 20. 2, 2012

Garrett, T.A. (2017) Economic Effects of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic Implications for a Modern-day Pandemic, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Hirshleifer, J. (1966) Disaster and Recovery. The Black Death in Western Europe. RAND Corp.

Humerovic, D, (2019) ‘Brief History of Pandemics’ Psychiatry of Pandemics

Independent Commission on Multilateralism (2017) G l o b a l  P a n d e m i c s  a n d G l o b a l  P u b l i c  H e a l t h 

lePan, N. (2020) Visualizing the History of Pandemics, Visual Capitalist, 14.3.2020

Mark Koyama, Remi Jedwab and Noel Johnson (2019) Pandemics, Places, and Populations: Evidence from the Black Death, CEPR Discussion paper DP13523

Petersen E. e,a, (2020) ‘Comparing SARS-CoV-2 with SARS-CoV and influenza pandemics’, The Lancet, 3.7.2020

NEW Piret, J, and Boivin, G. (2021) ‘Pandemics Throughout History’, Frontiers in Microbiology, 15.1.2021

Nanshan Zhong,  and Guangqiao Zeng, (2006) ‘What we have learnt from SARS epidemics in China?’ British Medical Journal, 19.8.2006

Samal, J. (2014) ‘A Historical Exploration of Pandemics of Some Selected Diseases in the World’, International Journal of Health Sciences and Research, 4, 2, 2014,

Tognotti, E. (2013) Lessons from the History of Quarantine, from Plague to Influenza A’, Emerging Infectious Diseases, 19, 2, 2013.



NOTE: The Leiden University database Resources on Coronavirus with its open resources dataset

NEW Akhaldi, M e.a. (2021) ‘Rethinking and strengthening the Global Health Diplomacy through triangulated nexus between policy makers, scientists and the community in light of COVID-19 global crisis’ Global Health Research and Policy, 6, 12.

NEW AlTakarli, N.S. (2020) China’s Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak: A Model for Epidemic Preparedness and Management, Dubai Medical Journal, 3,2,

NEW Baig, M.A.A. (2021) ‘Global Health & Health Silk Road: The Other Side Of Picture’, Modern Diplomacy, 6.6.2021

Beg, Z. (2020) ‘“The Health Silk Road”: Implications for the EU under Covid-19’, EIAS, 29.4.2020 

Bing, N.C. (2020) ‘COVID-19 speeds up China’s ‘Health Silk Road’, East Asia Forum, 26.5.2020 

Buckley, P.J. (2020) ‘China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the COVID-19 crisis’, Journal of International Business Policy, 3, 311–314.

NEW Cao, J. (2020) “Toward a Health Silk Road, China’s Proposal for Global Health Cooperation, China Quarterly of International Strategic Studies, 6, 1, 19–35.

NEW Chen, A. and Molter, V. (2021) ‘Mask Diplomacy: Chinese Narratives in the COVID Era’ Stanford All Cyber News, 16.6.2020

Chen, C. e.a (2019) ‘Combating infectious disease epidemics through China’s Belt and Road Initiative’, PLoS Negl Trop Dis 13(4): e0007107. 18.4.2019  

NEW Cheng, Y. & Cheng, F. (2019) China’s unique role in the field of global health. Global Health Journal. Vol. 3, Issue 4. Pp. 98-101.

NEW Chow-Bing, N (2020)What’s behind China’s controversial Health Silk Road efforts. CNA. 

NEW Chow-Bing, N. COVID-19, Belt and Road Initiative and the Health Silk Road: Implications for Southeast Asia, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, October 2020 

Cimmino, J.,  Kroenig, M. and Pavel, B (2020) ‘Taking stock: Where are geopolitics headed in the COVID-19 era?’, Atlantic Council, 1/6.2020 

NEW Dinko, D.H. (2021) ‘China’s ‘mask diplomacy’ wins influence across Africa, during and after the pandemicThe Conversation, 10.3.2021

Editorial (2017) ‘Facing forwards along the Health Silk Road’, The Lancet, 5, 10, 2017 

Economics, I. & O. (2017). Belt and Road Economic Health Index Navigating complexity by the stars. Report, (July 2017). 

Escobar, P. (2020) ‘China rolls out the Health Silk Road’, Asia Times, 2.4.2020. 

NEW EuBulletin (2021) ‘Vaccine Diplomacy: Soft Power Lessons from China and Russia?’ EuBulletin, 10.5.2021

European Parliament Research Service (2020) Economic impact of epidemics and pandemics, 26.2.2020

Fallon, T. (2020) ‘China, Italy, and Coronavirus: Geopolitics and PropagandaThe Diplomat, 20.3.2020

NEW Felter, C. (2021) A Guide to Global COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts, CFR 27.4.2021. A good guide through the basics

Fornado, A. (2020) ‘What is the Health Silk Road’ (some good embedded links)

NEW Fuchs, A. (2020)  Mask wars: China’s exports of medical goods in times of COVID-19, cege Discussion Papers, No. 398

NEW Fuchs, A. e.a. (2021) ‘China sent masks, gloves and gowns to many U.S. states. Here’s who benefitedWashington Post, 29.1.2021

NEW Gauttam, P., Singh, B and Kaur, J. (2020) ‘COVID-19 and Chinese Global Health Diplomacy: Geopolitical Opportunity for China’s Hegemony?’ Millennial Asia, 12.20.2020

NEW Graaf, B de (2020) ‘Taming Pandemics in International Relations Why Do States Cooperate in Transboundary Crises? An Applied History Perspective’, Journal of Applied History, 2, 1-2, 36-61.

NEW Hotez, P. (2021) Preventing the Next Pandemic: Vaccine Diplomacy in a Time of Anti-Science. For a review in The Lancet see here

Hu, R., Liu, R. and Hu, N. (2017). ‘China’s Belt and Road Initiative from a global health perspective’, The Lancet Global Health. 5,752-753

NEW Katz, R. e.a. (20i1) ‘Defining Health Diplomacy: Changing Demands in the Era of Globalization’ The Milbank Quarterly,, 89, 3, 503-523

Kickbusch, I. e.a. (2018) ‘Interview: The New Silk Road—Health as Soft Power’. OMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology, 22, 6, 2018.  

NEW Kickbusch, I. e.a. (2021) A Guide to Global Health Diplomacy. Better health – improved global solidarity – more equity Global Health Centre

NEW Kobierecka, A and Kobierecka, M.M. (2021) ‘Coronavirus diplomacy: Chinese medical assistance and its diplomatic implications’, International Politics, 8.3.2021

NEW Kowalski, B. (2021) ‘China’s Mask Diplomacy in Europe: Seeking Foreign Gratitude and Domestic Stability’, Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 8.4.2021

The Lancet. (2016). The best science for achieving Healthy China 2030. The Lancet, 388, p. 1851.

Lee T.K. (1996)  ‘Silk road: opportunities for foreign-owned health care clinics in China’, Australian Health Review, 19, 2, 1996,  94-104. 

NEW Li, L e.a. (2021) ‘US–China health exchange and collaboration following COVID-19’, The Lancet, 8.4.2021

Loayza, N. (2020) ‘Aid effectiveness during the COVID-19 pandemic: This time it must be better’, World Bank Blogs, 6.5.2020

NEW Mardell, J (2020) China’s “Health Silk Road”: Adapting the BRI to a pandemic-era world, MERICS Short Analysis, 25.11.2020

McDade, K.K. and Mao, W. (2020) ‘Making sense of estimates of health aid from China, British Medical Journal, 5, 2, 2020

NEW Mekelberg. Y. (2021).Why Covid-19 vaccine diplomacy is both moral and expedient. TRENDS- Global Barometer

NEW Micah AE, Zhao Y, Chen CS, et al. (2019) Tracking development assistance for health from China, 2007–2017. BMJ Global Health, 4, 5, 2019

Mulakala,A. and  Ji, H. (2020) ‘Covid-19 and China’s soft power ambitions’, DevPolicyBog, 24.4.2020 

Pal, D. and Bhatia, R. (2020) The BRI in Post-Coronavirus South Asia, Carnegie India, May 2020

NEW Pannu, J. and  Barry, M. (2021) ‘The state inoculates: vaccines as soft power’, The Lancet, 9.6. 

NEW Rudolf, M (2021) China’s Health Diplomacy during Covid-19 The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Action, SWP Comment, January 2021

Schellekens, P. and Sourrouille, D. (2020) COVID-19 Mortality in Rich and Poor Countries. A Tale of Two Pandemics? World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, 9260.

NEW Sec, G. and Poggetti, L. (2021) Beijings vaccine diplomacy bears fruit in Central and Eastern Europe, MERICS, 24.2.2021

Su, M. e.a. (2019) ‘Urban ecosystem health evaluation for typical Chinese cities along the Belt and Road’, Ecological Indicators. 101. 572-582. 10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.01.070. (NO PUBLIC ACCESS)

Tambo, E. e.a. (2019) ‘China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Incorporating public health measures toward global economic growth and shared prosperity’, Global Health Journal, 3, 2, 46-49. 

Tandon, A.  and Zhuang, J. (2007). Inclusiveness of Economic Growth in the People’s Republic of China: What Do Population Health Outcomes Tell Us?. ERD Policy Brief, 47. Philippines.

Tang K, Li Z, Li W, Chen L. (2017) ‘China’s Silk Road and global health’ Lancet, 390, 2965-2601. 

NEW Tillman, H. and Ye, Y and Jian, Y. (2021). Health Silk Road 2020: A Bridge to the Future of Health for All. SSRN. 

NEW Unmüßig, B. and Sitenko, A. (2021) ‘Divided we fail – Vaccine diplomacy and its implications’ Heinrich Böll Stiftung

NEW Vannarith, C. (2021) “Fighting COVID-19: China’s Soft Power Opportunities in Mainland Southeast Asia”  ISEAS, 2021/66

Van den Broucke, S. (2020) Why health promotion matters to the COVID-19 pandemic, and vice versa, Health Promotion International, 35, 2, 181–186. and Policy, 4(1), 1–8. 

NEW Verma, R (2020) ‘China’s ‘mask diplomacy’ to change the COVID-19 narrative in Europe’ Asia Europe Journal, 18, 205-209

Widmann. M. (2021) 17+1: Between Recovery and Vaccines. EIAS. 

NEW Wigmore R. (2021) ‘5 Reasons to Worry About the ‘Chinese Vaccine Diplomacy’ Narrative’, The Diplomat, 11.3.2021

Wu X. (2019) ‘Boosting nursing cooperation for a healthy Silk Road’, International journal of nursing sciences, 6, 4, 2019, 349–351. 

NEW Yanzhong Huang & Christopher J. Smith. (2010). China’s Response to Pandemics: From Inaction to OverreactioN. Eurasian Geography and Economics,

Zoubir, Y.H. (2020) China’s ‘Health Silk Road’ Diplomacy in the MENA, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Med Dialogue Series, 27, July 2020.