While the historical notion of the “Silk Road” is well-known, people often forget how the idea also develops and disseminates. It is therefore necessary to review Silk Road research in China under the paradigm of “new materials,” “new issues,” “new methods,” and “new thoughts” within the framework of a modern academic system. Hence, a new notion of “Silk Road Outlook” is essential to defining a view of the past and present of the Silk Road in China and the West from the perspectives of history, geography, economy and culture. The Silk Road research in China cannot be summarized by any single discipline alone. It is an academic subject to be reviewed with the “Silk Road Outlook.” As the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) is gaining momentum, regional studies along the BRI has, in a sense, become the Silk Road study in a global network with a brand-new meaning. It is hoped that with regional country studies unfolding itself alongside the “Belt and Road Initiative,” new materials are unearthed, new methods enriched, and new issues studied leading to a new trend of thought. Therein lies the significance of analyzing the history of thought from the Silk Road to BRI.
Wu Hao has been the executive director of The Silk Road Research Institute at the Beijing Foreign Studies University since 2015.