Just what is this One Belt, One Road thing anyway?

Hong Kong (CNN)Spanning more than 68 countries and encompassing 4.4 billion people and up to 40% of the global GDP, China's One Belt, One Road project is not short on ambition.

Its boosters tout its massive economic promise and claim it could benefit the entire world and lift millions out of poverty.
But no one can say for sure what exactly the plan encompasses, and detractors warn it could be an expensive boondoggle at best or a massive expansion of Chinese imperial power at worst.

    So what is One Belt, One Road?

      No one is totally sure. At the most basic level, One Belt, One Road (OBOR) is a collection of interlinking trade deals and infrastructure projects throughout Eurasia and the Pacific, but the definition of what exactly qualifies as an OBOR project or which countries are even involved in the initiative is incredibly fuzzy.
      "It means everything and it means nothing at the same time," said Christopher Balding, a professor of economics at Peking University.
      "One Belt, One Road" includes a number of hugely ambitious projects, including a train line stretching from eastern China to London.

      Why is it so unclear?

        While it might have originally had a comprehensible thesis behind it, OBOR has become such a popular buzzword that it's next to impossible to lock down criteria for how any given project would or could fit into the overall initiative.
        Chinese officials tend to mention it regardless of what they're trying to promote, like a US lawmaker talking about "freedom."
        Chenggang Xu, a professor of economics at the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, said it helps to think of OBOR as a "philosophy" or "party line," rather than anything concrete.
        As an example of what an all-encompassing buzzword its become, state media has claimed OBOR will benefit: the Middle East peace process, start-ups in Dubai, currency trading, global poverty reduction, Xinjiang's medical industry, Australian hotels, nuclear power, Polish orchards, and, finally, the entire world.
        Jörg Wuttke of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China, warned this week the initiative has increasingly "been hijacked by Chinese companies, which have used it as an excuse to evade capital controls, smuggling money out of the country by disguising it as international investments and partnerships."

        What's with the name?

        Confusion about OBOR isn't helped by its lack of a clear name or even a settled upon abbreviation.
        The initiative consists of two major parts: