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At first glance, everything seems to be running as usual in Duisburg: in the port, Chinese containers are still being heaved off the trains that roll every week from Chongqing, 10,000 kilometers away, to the Lower Rhine. The rail connection between China and the Ruhr area is part of the New Silk Road, with which China wants to create a network of modern trade routes in the world; Inaugurated in 2011 with a lot of optimism, celebrated in 2014 with a lot of fanfare when Xi Jinping visited this terminus as part of a state visit.

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