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I know that 一带一路 sounds exactly right in Mandarin for Belt and Road.  But is there a general grammatical rule for why this uses 一?     

It really does not mean "one belt, one road," and if you wanted to say that you would use classifiers for 带 and 路.    

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    一国两制 is of similar structure. Chinese use this pattern quite often – sylvia Nov 25 '19 at 22:19
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    一带一路 means 一带一路, 一带一路. You should know that the word or between two words is usually omitted in Chinese language. – 賈可 Jacky Nov 26 '19 at 3:13
  • 在对外公文中,统一将“丝绸之路经济带和21世纪海上丝绸之路”的英文全称译为 The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road,“一带一路”简称译为 The Belt and Road,英文缩写用 B&R。在非正式场合,除首次出现时使用英文全称译文外,其简称译法可视情况灵活处理,除可使用 The Belt and Road Initiative 外,也可视情使用 The land and maritime Silk Road initiative。 – 賈可 Jacky Nov 26 '19 at 3:17
  • Perhaps there's also a reference to "four-character expressions" (also related: chengyu)? – Andrew T. Nov 26 '19 at 6:07
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It is a title of a project, not a sentence.

「一带一路」」refers to "The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road"

「一带」(the one belt) refers to 「丝绸之路经济

「一路」(the one road) refers to 「21世纪海上丝绸之

Both are specific object, therefore the title cannot be just 「带和路」(belts and roads)

Using 「一个地带和一条通路」would be too wordy for a title. Not to mention 「丝绸之路经济带和21世纪海上丝绸之路」

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    Yep, so it's a shortening or abbreviation, essentially - similar to an acronym or initialism in English, except that when you abbreviate in characters, you retain more: a neat demonstration of the power of the Chinese writing system. – The_Sympathizer Nov 26 '19 at 2:21
  • The key point here, it seems to me, is that the belt and road in question are specific objects. So you cannot use either 和, as mentioned, or a measure word. – Colin McLarty Nov 26 '19 at 16:01

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