During his keynote speech at this year's Belt and Road forum, Xi pledged to crack down on corruption and institute sustainable lending controls for all BRI projects, a sign that Beijing is growing increasingly wary of the backlash to what its detractors have dubbed a 'neocolonialist project'.
According to the Wall Street Journal, "the comments mark a softening of the triumphalist tone Mr. Xi's government has used to promote the program, which has stirred disquiet at home and abroad. Foreign critics have blamed Belt and Road - Mr. Xi's vision for updating ancient Silk Road trading routes - for heaping onerous debt onto participating countries, while some Chinese say Beijing's assertive diplomacy has generated international pushback."
Going forward, Xi declared that all BRI projects would be managed "in a transparent way, and we should have a zero tolerance for corruption."
"Everything should be done in a transparent way, and we should have a zero tolerance for corruption," Mr. Xi said. He promised a "debt-sustainability framework" for Belt and Road projects and to encourage compliance with international standards in infrastructure contracting.