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ISLAMABAD: Chinese Charge d’Affaires Pang Chunxue said that there is a need to encourage the strengthening of narrative building and join hands in combating fake news, and media should bear the sacred mission of advocating order and justice.

“Some Western countries continue to slander China on issues related to Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, and spread rumours on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). We should take advantage of our complementarity, increase positive publicity, take the initiative for building narratives from our own perspectives, and jointly respond to negative public opinions. The CPEC is a valuable asset that has created huge potential for media cooperation.”

Pang Chunxue, Thursday, expressed these views while addressing the 7th CPEC Media Forum.

She hoped that the media of China and Pakistan will play a more active role as a bridge, tell true stories of China-Pakistan cooperation, and consolidate the all-weather friendship between the iron brothers.

The CPEC Media Forum was jointly organized by the Pakistan-China Institute (PCI) and the China Economic Net (CEN) in cooperation with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Pakistan.

The Forum conducted in-depth exchanges and discussions on topics including “CPEC Phase 2: Opportunities and Challenges”, “Pakistan, Global Development Initiative, and the Role of Media”, and “Objective and Fair reporting of CPEC”.

Yang Jiandou, CEO of All Pakistan-Chinese Enterprises Association (APCEA) said that the Chinese investment in Pakistan is a phenomenal opportunity for the Pakistani community to prosper and become self-sufficient. He said that as a flagship project within Pakistan, the CPEC has attracted $25 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). He said that the CPEC is not limited to constructing roads but is extended to building capacity in the energy and industrial sector.

He said, “Phase 2 of the CPEC comprises a total of 27 projects that are planned to improve seven different sectors within Pakistan. These are agriculture, health, education, drinking water supply, poverty alleviation, and vocational and educational training.”

National Assembly Speaker Raja Parvaiz Ashraf, speaking as chief guest, said that the CPEC has changed the destiny of so many people in the country and, in fact, through the CPEC, China has given a vote of confidence in Pakistan’s potential to build a better future. He said that not even a day passes when we don’t hear about development by Chinese enterprises on CPEC projects in the media. “As the CPEC moves forward, the media’s responsibility to report fairly and factually on CPEC would grow,” he said.

He said that the media, since the inception of the CPEC, has played a very important role in the dissemination of facts on the CPEC. He also commended the Pakistan-China Institute and the China Economic Net for hosting the forum and said that through events like these, both countries get an excellent opportunity to consolidate the existing all-weather friendship.

In his opening remarks, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed thanked China for helping Pakistan during Covid-19 by extending much-needed medical and moral support, which saved millions of lives. China, he said, established an air corridor for six weeks in March-April 2020 which enhanced Pakistan’s capacity to contain the pandemic at home.

Commenting on the dividends of the CPEC, he said that the CPEC has created 75,000 jobs for Pakistanis so far, and energy projects under the CPEC have 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.

A special video message by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was played during the event. He said that the Pakistan-China relationship is 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 Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto is the architect of this very relationship and in 1963, he signed a historic boundary agreement between Pakistan and China. He was also the last world leader to meet Chairman Mao. Moreover, he said that the Pakistan Peoples Party is committed to sustaining, maintaining, and continuing this relationship.

Zhao Zizhong, Vice President of Economic Daily, said that the development of Asia is impossible without the contributions of China and Pakistan. He said that the two countries have always helped each other and firmly supported each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests and major concerns.

In recent years, in particular, thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has achieved remarkable results, brought important benefits to the two peoples and added a strong impetus to regional prosperity, he said. He proposed three suggestions, i.e., seek truth since it is the essence of news hinges, seek harmony since Chinese culture values harmony in diversity, and seek innovation since the characteristic of news is demonstrated by new content and new forms.

Tian Yuhong, Executive Secretary of the All-China Journalists Association, said CPEC is an economic corridor featuring mutual benefit and win-win outcomes. He said that the infrastructure under CPEC has served as a connecting bridge, while the media cooperation between the two countries has opened an avenue of “people-to-people bond”. He proposed that the media of both countries should tell true stories and spread positive energy, adopt to new media technologies to create appealing content for Gen-Z, and strengthen cooperation among journalists’ associations.

Li Yue, Vice President, and Director, China Economic Information Service, Xinhua News Agency said that we shall utilize diversified platforms, channels, and patterns to disseminate the updated CPEC information, tell good stories of China-Pakistan cooperation and create a favourable public opinion atmosphere to achieve the “hard connectivity” of infrastructure, the “soft connectivity” of system rules, and the “people-to-people connectivity” through information connectivity.

After the speeches, a book titled “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC): Stories Behind” was launched by Cui Jin, Editor of China Economic Net.

At the end of the forum, four notable journalists from Pakistan were also awarded CPEC Communication Awards. They included Muhammad Asif Noor, Tahir Ali, Hafiz Tahir Khalil, and Syed Kamal Hussain Shah.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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