Lien Research Programme on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

The Lien Research Programme on BRI aims to conduct internationally collaborative and cutting-edge research on relevant topics or issues from the perspective of Singapore, ASEAN and Maritime Silk Road. It hopes to provide a constructive reference for cooperation between Singapore, ASEAN and China in BRI and beyond, as well as to conduct all-round exchanges with China and other countries.


Singapore as a Nexus of the Maritime Silk Road: Knowledge Exchanges and Capacity Building

In conjunction with the newly established Lien Research Programme on BRI, Nanyang Centre for Public Administration (NCPA) of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU), organised a conference entitled "Singapore as a Nexus of the Maritime Silk Road: Knowledge Exchanges and Capacity Building" on 7 & 8 December 2018.

The programme was launched at the opening ceremony of the Conference by Mr Laurence Lien, Chairman of the Lien Foundation; Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed and Mr Goh Sin Teck, NTU Board of Trustee Members; Ms Tan Aik Na, Senior Vice President (Administration) of NTU; Professor Joseph Liow, Dean of College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences; and Professor Liu Hong, Director (Research and Executive Education), Nanyang Centre for Public Administration. 


Since the Lien Research Programme on BRI was established, it has actively collaborated with academic institutions worldwide to jointly conduct research and organise events. 


Stratagem Group–NTU SINO-Singapore Dialogue

The Research Programme and Lien Fellowship has also forged an ongoing collaboration with the Stratagem Group to organise the Stratagem Group–NTU SINO-Singapore Dialogue. This is a series of dialogues co-organised with Stratagem Group that features leading scholars, government and business leaders to share their insights to provide holistic understanding of China and Southeast Asia’s perspectives on the opportunities for BRI in the region across issues pertaining to economic, social, geopolitical, technology, etc.​​​​​​​

The inaugural session with the theme on “Seizing BRI opportunities through strategic partnerships in Southeast Asia” organised by the Stratagem Group and NCPA was held on  05 October 2018. The dialogue featured Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed (Former Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs); Prof Zhang Weiwei (Director, China Institute, Fudan University); Prof Wang Yuzhu (Senior Research Fellow, National Institute of International Strategy; Head of APEC and Regional Cooperation Centre, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences); Mrs Vilawan Mangklatanakul (Director-General of International Economic Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand); and Mr Kyatmaja Lookman (President Director of PT. Lookman Djaja Land; Founder, Indonesian Trucking Association-APTRINDO). The speakers shared their perspectives and insights on how businesses can leverage on strategic partnerships to seize BRI opportunities along the Silk Road.


The Belt and Road Initiative and Singapore-Myanmar Collaborations:  Enhancing Policymaking for Economic Development

On 27 and 28 February 2019, NCPA and the University of Mandalay jointly organized an international workshop at Mandalay, Myanmar. Graced by H.E. Ms Vanessa Chan (Singapore ambassador to Myanmar) and Dr Myo Kywe (Chairman of Myanmar’s National Education Policy Commission) as guest of honours, the workshop attracted about 100 senior officials including the Mayor of Mandalay and several rectors and pro-rectors of the Universities in Mandalay. The workshop, which is widely reported in the local media, draw out lessons on the strong Singapore-China relationship so that Myanmar too can enhance its policies to better respond to the opportunities opened up by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).



NCPA’s research team led by Professor Liu Hong have written and published books, book chapters, journal articles and papers in various BRI-related topics.  


Research Handbook on the Belt and Road Initiative

handbook on BRI

Edited by Joseph Chinyong Liow, (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore); Hong Liu, (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), and Gong Xue, (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)

This timely Research Handbook investigates the radically transformative impact of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), addressing key questions regarding its economic, political and strategic consequences: what does the Chinese government hope to achieve with the BRI? How have recipient states responded? And what are its potential opportunities and risks?


The Political Economy of Regionalism, Trade, and Infrastructure

Political economy of RTI

Edited By: Hong Liu (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), Kong Yam Tan (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), and Guanie Lim (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Japan). 

This edited volume examines whether and to what extent China's economic ascendancy has impacted the proposed ASEAN Economic Community and the respective nations in the region. It deals with this question by grounding the analysis along three themes — institutions at a regional level, industry/sector, and particular ASEAN countries' economic relationship with China. Sixteen articles are presented to illuminate the state of affairs at the regional level and in specific ASEAN economies. They point to the importance of managing trade and investment flows stemming from China's increasingly sophisticated national firms. This in turn hinges on forging 'rules of the game' at both the multilateral and bilateral levels, which potentially leads to mutually beneficial industrialization and long-term wealth creation.


BRI and the Rise of China in Southeast Asia

Analysed through two angles, this project unpacks theories and frameworks from the traditions of international relations and international political economy. Findings drawn from observations/interviews on large-scale BRI projects such as high-speed railway and industrial parks will uncover how the BRI is impacting local level development to enrich the understanding on this issue by focusing on the contestation and cooperation of mainland Chinese business groups with their Southeast Asian counterparts (and their political patrons).


Approaching BRI from Singapore and ASEAN Perspectives

This project aims to extend beyond the existing bodies of scholarship and from an ASEAN perspective to examine the fluid interplay among economic, political and societal factors between China and ASEAN in the BRI. Through the study to understand Singapore’s role as a global-Asia node for technology, innovation and enterprise between ASEAN and China.


The Chinese Migrants and the BRI

This project studies on the connection between Chinese Migrants from a historical perspective and the new Qiaoxiang ties in the era of BRI. As China is playing an increasingly important role in global migration debates, this study will shed light on regional and international migration governance to enhance talent mobility.

Events (Reverse chronological order)





Bridging the Great Digital Divide in the Region and Beyond: BRI for the Common Good

25 August 2023


BRI 0406


BRI 2.0: Reboot, Re-Energise and Re-Strategise

6 April 2023




Sustainable Development of China and ASEAN in a VUCA World

25 November 2022




The Green Belt & Road Initiative

14 July 2022




Climate Change and Sustainability Governance

22 November 2021



Organised jointly by the Lien Ying Chow Legacy Fellowship and the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF)

18 March 2021



The Relevance of the Digital Silk Road in a Post-COVID Asia

2 March 2021



How has COVID-19 shaped economic and trade policies in Asia

25 September 2020



Opportunities in Southeast Asia through Sino-Singapore Cooperation in Fourth Industrial Revolution

18 June 2019



Deepening the Co-operation and Win-win Situation of the Maritime Silk Road

7 September 2018




Lim, Guanie (2020). “The Political Economy of Growth in Vietnam: Between States and Markets”. New York: Routledge. For more information.....Book/Article 


Gregor Benton, Hong Liu, and Zhang Huimei, eds., (2019). The Qiaopi Trade and Transnational Networks in the Chinese Diaspora. London: Routledge. For more information...... Book/Article


Book Chapters & Special Issues


Min Zhou and Hong Liu, “Diasporic Development and Socioeconomic Integration: New Chinese Migrants in a Globalized World,” in Khatharya Um and Chiharu Takenaka, eds., Globalization and Civil Society in East Asian Space (London & New York: Routledge, 2023), pp. 141-161.



Hong Liu, Kong Yam Tan, and Lim Guanie (2022), “In Pursuit of Regionalism, Trade, and Infrastructure: Southeast Asia, China, and the Belt and Road Initiative in a New Era,” in idem, eds., The Political Economy of Regionalism, Trade, and Infrastructure:  Southeast Asia and the Belt and Road Initiative in a New Era, pp. xxvii-xlvi. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.


Hong Liu, “Identity, Politics, and Transnationalism: Deciphering New Chinese Diaspora in Singapore, 2010-2020,” in Yos Santasombat ed., Transnational Chinese Diaspora in the Era of Globalization (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2022), pp. 125-152.



Joseph Liow, Hong Liu, Gong Xue (2021). “Introduction,” in idem, eds., Research Handbook on the Belt and Road Initiative, pp. xx-xxii. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.


Joseph Liow, Hong Liu, Gong Xue (2021). “Conclusion: BRI, Covid-19, and the Future,” in idem, eds., Research Handbook on the Belt and Road Initiative, pp. 439-448. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.


Guanie Lim and Hong Liu (2021), “Soaring Garuda Meets Rising Dragon: The Political Economy of the Belt and Road Initiative in Indonesia,” in Joseph Liow, Hong Liu, and Gong Xue, eds., Research Handbook on the Belt and Road Initiative,  pp. 123-137. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.


Akita Shigeru, Hong Liu, Shiro Momoki (2021). “Introduction,” in idem, eds., Changing Dynamics and Mechanisms of Maritime Asia in Comparative Perspectives, pp. 1-14. London: Palgrave Macmillan.


Hong Liu (2021). “Modern China’s Imagining of the Nanyang and the Construction of Transnational Asia,” in  Akita Shigeru, Hong Liu, Shiro Momoki, eds., Changing Dynamics and Mechanisms of Maritime Asia in Comparative Perspectives, pp. 165-194. London: Palgrave Macmillan.


Hong Liu (2021), “Beyond Strategic Hedging: Mahathir’s China Policy and the Changing Political Economy in Malaysia, 2018-2020,” in Felix Heiduk, ed., Asian Geopolitics and the US-China Rivalry, pp. 159-176. London: Routledge.


Liu, Hong, Kong Yam Tan, and Guanie Lim, special issue editors (2021). “The Political Economy of the Belt and Road Initiative: Perspectives from Southeast Asia,” Singapore Economic Review (Special Issue).



Liu Hong and Guanie Lim (2020). “A Nanyang Approach to the Belt and Road Initiative,” in Zheng Yongnian and Zhao Litao, eds., Chineseness and Modernity in a Changing China: Essays in honor of Professor Wang Gungwu (Singapore: World Scientific), pp. 253-286.



Liu, H., Xu, C.W. & Lim, G. The China effect on regional economic integration: a longitudinal study of Central, South, and Southeast Asia. Journal of Asia Pacific Economy. DOI: 10.1080/13547860.2023.2258018

Liu, H. & Ren, N. (2023). Between positionality and nudging: A rising China and Chinese voluntary associations in Southeast Asia. Asia Pacific Viewpoints.


Hong Liu and Guanie Lim,  “When the State Goes Transnational: The Political Economy of China’s Engagement with Indonesia,” Competition and Change, vol. 27, no. 2 (2023), pp. 402-421.



Zhang Huimei. (2022). The Formation of Chinese Diaspora Culture and the Qiaoxiang Ties: A Case Study of Singapore's Teochew Community. Monde Chinois Nouvelle Asie (France). For more information...... Book/Article



Liu, Hong, Kong Yam Tan and Guanie Lim (2021). Introduction: Southeast Asia and the Belt and Road Initiative: The Political Economy of Regionalism, Trade, and Infrastructure. Singapore Economic Review, pp. 1-22.



Lu Hong, Fan Xin and Guanie Lim (2020). “Singapore Engages the Belt and Road Initiative: Perceptions, Policies and Institutions,” The Singapore Economic Review. DOI: 10.1142/S0217590820410015

Liu, Hong and Huimei Zhang (2020). Singapore as a Nexus of Migration Corridors: The Qiaopi System and Diasporic Heritage. Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, 29 (2):207-226.



Ma, Sirui. (2019), An Overview of The 2019 Conference on Global Migration and Talent Mobility ‘Globalized China: 70 Years of Migration and Interaction’”, The International Journal of Diasporic Chinese Studies 11, no. 2: 113-118.

Na Ren and Hong Liu, (2019). “Domesticating ‘Transnational Cultural Capital’:  The Chinese State and Diasporic Technopreneur Returnees,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 2308-2327.