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Year in review: Top China stories of 2017
5. Belt and Road Forum 
Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan and other distinguished guests of the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation pose for a group photo before a welcome banquet in Beijing, capital of China, May 14, 2017. Photo: Xinhua
One of the biggest events that demonstrated China’s rising influence to the world in 2017. 
With the holding of the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May in Beijing, this year may prove to be a milestone in implementing the Belt and Road Initiative which was put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping back in 2013. 
A short form of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, the initiative is aimed at expanding infrastructure, trade and investment networks to connect Asia, Europe and Africa along and beyond ancient Silk Road routes. 
Calling for openness, inclusiveness, innovative growth, and freer and fairer trade, the initiative also shows China’s ambition to lead the world toward “a common community of a shared future for humankind”, a vision inscribed in multiple UN resolutions. 
Over 1,500 representatives from over 130 countries and 70 international organizations attended the 2017 Belt and Road Forum, and nearly 70 agreements were signed during the summit. 
According to official data, Chinese enterprises have invested roughly 50 billion U.S. dollars and helped build 75 economic and trade cooperation zones in 24 countries, generating over 209,000 jobs under the Initiative. 

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