ISLAMABAD: Acting Chinese ambassador for Pakistan Pang Chunxue has said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) cannot progress well in a world full of Cold War mentality. The media in Pakistan and China have the responsibility of speaking out for fairness and justice, she said.
Addressing the Seventh CPEC Media Forum, she reminded that the CPEC cooperation had achieved fruitful results under which the two sides had initiated or completed 46 of the 70 early harvest projects with a total investment of $25.4 billion. Among the projects, “the East Bay Expressway of Gwadar Port has been completed and will open to traffic soon. This year, China donated another 3,000 sets of solar panels to Gwadar people, which brings the total number of donations to 7,000 sets. The construction of a desalination plant aided by China will start soon in Gwadar,” she said.
She said that two units of the Karot Hydropower project had started providing stable clean power to Pakistan’s power grid since May. After its full operation, its four units will provide electricity to five million people. Despite the fruitful CPEC cooperation, false propaganda and disinformation on CPEC are on the increase.
“Hostile forces are trying to undermine the development of CPEC as well as the unity and mutual trust between the two countries.” She mentioned the Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative, which called for common development and progress of all countries. However, QUAD, AUKUS, Indo-Pacific Economic Framework targeting China are undermining such efforts. In this regard, Pang said that the media in Pakistan and China had the responsibility of speaking out for fairness and justice and should be a positive force for CPEC for world peace and stability. She suggested that synergy among media circles should be strengthened.
“Chinese media has seven permanent bureaus and one Urdu language studio in Pakistan. Pakistan is believed to have over 100 television channels and 150 radio stations. Both countries’ media should form in-depth cooperation in terms of exchange of news materials, co-production of programmes, personnel training and co-organising of activities, especially on the CPEC,” she said.
She also suggested full mobilisation of resources of multiple entities, the strengthening of narrative building, and the two sides should join hands in combating fake news, as some western countries continue to slander China on issues related to Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, and spread rumours on the CPEC. “I hope that the media in Pakistan and China will play a more active role as a bridge, tell true stories of Pakistan-China cooperation, and consolidate the all-weather friendship between the iron brothers,” Pang said.
Former prime minister and Speaker of the National Assembly Raja Pervez Ashraf, who chaired the forum, said that the CPEC had changed the destiny of so many people in the country and, in fact, through the CPEC, China had given a vote of confidence in Pakistan’s potential to build a better future. Not even a day passes when we don’t hear about development by Chinese enterprises on CPEC projects in the media. The professionalism and consistency through which Chinese enterprises continued work on the CPEC despite a global pandemic like Covid-19 when almost every project in the world hit snags has been lauded by the governments of Pakistan and China as well as the international media.
As the CPEC moves forward, the media’s responsibility to report fairly and factually on it would grow. He was of the view that the media, since the inception of CPEC, has played a very important role in the dissemination of facts on CPEC.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed thanked China for helping Pakistan during Covid-19 by extending the much-needed medical and moral support, which had saved millions of lives. In his opening remarks, he said that the CPEC had created 75,000 jobs for Pakistanis so far and energy projects under the corridor had produced over 5,000 MW of electricity. While rejecting the Cold War Mentality, he advocated for multilateralism and connectivity and said the enemies of Pakistan-China friendship have launched a campaign of disinformation and fake news against CPEC.
In his video message, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the Pakistan-China relationship was indeed a special relationship that has no parallel in contemporary international relations. For me personally, he remarked, it is a great honour to be talking about this special bond because my grandfather Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is the architect of this very relationship and in 1963, he had signed a historic boundary agreement between Pakistan and China. “He was also the last world leader to meet Chairman Mao.” Hameed Haroon, CEO of Dawn Media Group, said that he was privileged enough to lead a delegation in the early 1980s from the media to China and that and subsequent visits to China have been unforgettable in his mind. He said there was a need for cross-cultural cooperation and understanding to cement the existing people-to-people bond, which is considered the heart of the unique bond between Pakistan and China.
Pakistan’s ambassador in China Moin-ul-Haq spoke virtually and said that events like CPEC Media Forum are vital to fighting misinformation related to the CPEC. These events have reinvigorated the friendly sentiments between our two countries and helped pass on the finest traditions of bilateral friendship to our younger generations.
Mustafa Hyder Sayed, Executive Director of the Pakistan-China Institute, that co-hosted the forum, recalled that last year, the institute had launched the Rapid Response Information Network (RRIN), which identifies fake news on CPEC and counters them with facts. The institute will be publishing “The Governance of China”, Part 2 and Part 3 in Urdu, which are authored by President Xi Jinping. Zhao Zizhong, Vice-President of Economic Daily, Tian Yuhong, Executive Secretary of the All-China Journalists Association, Yang Jiandou, CEO of All Pakistan-Chinese Enterprises Association (APCEA), Journalist Najma Minhas, Li Yue, Vice President, and Director, China Economic Information Service, Xinhua News Agency and Wang Qianting from China Media Group also spoke.
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