You gave up a political career in Portugal to become an expert on China. What drove you to live in Beijing?
This was something I was planning to do for a long time. China is a very difficult place to understand and you can’t do it without building relationships and trust and, of course, immersing yourself in Chinese life. You can’t be visiting for five days and thinking about logistics or about your next destination. You need to settle down, you have to adapt to life here.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative has been going for five years but it is still hard to define. It started as a rail link but it is now much grander. How do you describe it?