Pakistan-China Institute and Academy of Contemporary China & World Studies organized a dialogue on ‘Global Development & Governance’ themed on ‘Governance Experience Exchange Between Pakistan and China’ with Speakers from Pakistan and China. Opening remarks were given by Nong Rong, Chinese ambassador to Pakistan; Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman of the Defense Committee of the Senate of Pakistan & Chairman of Pakistan-China Institute, and Gao Anming, Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of China International Communications Group (CICG). The dialogue was moderated by Mustafa Hyder Sayed, Executive Director Pakistan-China Institute, and Lin Kun, Vice President of the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies.
Nong Rong, Ambassador of China to Pakistan, who had his first public engagement following his return to Pakistan, stated in his opening remarks that China is eager to support Pakistan in pursuing its development model appropriate for the circumstances on the ground because the two countries are all-weather friends. Through CPEC, China is also eager to expand its exchanges in the area of governance, such as lowering poverty levels and raising peoples’ standards of living. He also praised the Communist Party of China (CPC), whose initiatives have profoundly changed China. He said that the upcoming 20th Congress of CPC would make plans for the future and set new objectives that would be accomplished by working together to benefit all peoples. China and Pakistan are strategic allies that have consistently stood by one another through tough times.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman of the Defense Committee of the Senate of Pakistan and Chairman of Pakistan-China Institute, at the outset, extended congratulations to China on the 95th Anniversary of founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) which was specially celebrated at the GHQ as a gesture of goodwill, and Senator Mushahid Hussain lauded the close cooperation between the Pakistan Army and PLA, including the comments by Pakistan COAS, General Bajwa, that both armies are ‘brother in arms’.
Referring to US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Asia and tentative plans for a journey to Taiwan, Senator Mushahid said this would be an unnecessary and unwarranted provocation, adding such a highlevel visit by an American official violate the One-China Policy agreed to by the United States and the People’s Republic of China in the Shanghai Communique. He said such provocations had the potential to destabilize Asia and generate a new type of confrontation, something Asia cannot afford in these challenging times. Pakistan, he said, is firmly committed to the One-China Policy and to preserving, promoting and protecting the strategic partnership with China. He also discussed President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, which he termed the twenty-first century’s most important development and diplomatic initiative. He said that CPEC, the BRI’s flagship undertaking, is progressing admirably since it has modernized the nation’s infrastructure and raised the socioeconomic standing of its citizens. Lastly, he quoted two studies by the Harvard University . The first study, titled ‘Understanding CCP Resilience: Surveying Chinese Public Opinion Through Time, was published by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation of Harvard University in July 2020. The study found that there was very high satisfaction with the central government in China. The second study by Graham Allison of Harvard University was titled “The Great Tech Rivalry: China vs. the U.S.” The study shows that China has displaced the U.S. as the world’s top high-tech manufacturer, producing 250 million computers, 25 million automobiles, and 1.5 billion smartphones in 2020. Moreover, it says that beyond becoming a manufacturing powerhouse, China has become a serious competitor in the foundational technologies of the 21st century: artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, quantum information science (QIS), semiconductors, biotechnology, robotics and green energy.
Gao Anming, Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of China International Communications Group (CICG), stressed deepening high-quality cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and actively promoting the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Global development is inseparable from connectivity and open cooperation. The joint construction of the “Belt and Road” pursues development, advocates win-win results, and conveys hope. As a landmark project in the joint construction of the “Belt and Road,” the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a practical example of win-win cooperation between the two countries. Since the start of construction in 2015, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has brought a total of US$25.4 billion in direct investment to Pakistan with 22 priority projects completed, which resulted in the creation of more than 70,000 jobs effectively improving people’s livelihood and well-being.
After the opening remarks, a joint research publication titled “Pakistan’s View On Governance Of China In The New Era (2012-2022): Perception & Inspiration” was released by Ambassador ® Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, former Foreign Secretary and currently DG, Institute of Strategic Studies. While presenting the paper, Aizaz Chaudhry said that China had climbed the ladder of development much faster than other countries. Under Mao Zedong, China focussed on three key areas: universal education, mobilization of women in the workforce, and mobilization of people in the workforce. Moreover, he said that he observed two significant features of Chinese governance: First, China adheres to governance with a clear vision and purpose. China, through this, wants to achieve the goal of making China a moderately prosperous society by 2049. Second, it seems that the Chinese governance system is centralized at the outset. In reality, it is highly decentralized as local congresses across the counties and townships are elected democratically with guidance from the top. Lastly, he said that countries like Pakistan need to learn from China’s peaceful rise.
Yu Yunquan, President of Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies, said that in the report, many Pakistani experts believe that there are two reasons why China can achieve “good governance” in the new era: One is the wise leadership of President Xi Jinping whose thoughts on governing the country have been highly recognized by the international community including Pakistani Prime Minister Shabaz Sharif and the second is democratic consultative governance brings together a wide range of representation of people’s power. For instance, more than 1 billion voters in China directly elected more than 2 million deputies to people’s congresses across the county and township levels, probably the world’s largest grass-roots election.
Mustafa Hyder Sayed, Executive Director of Pakistan-China Institute, said that the era of reform and opening-up was the inflection point that transformed China into the second biggest world economy. He attributed China’s peaceful rise to the policy consistency the successive leaders of had adopted. China’s vision of building a community of shared future is being achieved as a result of President Xi Jinping’s people-centric policies. The necessity for consistency and continuity is always there. Because of these two features of China’s governance, it will handle all the pressing issues it faces domestically and internationally. He said that CPC is the core and soul of China and the driving force behind China’s prosperity. That is why, he said, it is being targeted intentionally through disinformation campaigns. He also cited Kishore Mehboobani’s book ‘Has China won?’ which states that more than 130 million Chinese tourists go to other countries freely and all willingly return to to their homes in China every year, which shows they are content with the state of affairs in China.
Wang Xiaohui, Editor-in-Chief of China Internet Information Center, quoted President Xi Jinping, who said that ‘only the man who wears the shoes can tell whether it fits or not. China’s development model, he said, is people-centered and has achieved significant dividends over the period. Commenting on the CPEC, he said both countries had deepened cooperation during its first phase, which resulted in alleviating the energy crisis and infrastructure modernization.
Dr. Ye Hailin, Deputy Director General of Bureau of International Cooperation, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that in the coming days, the world will witness increasing uncertainty due to the global supply chain disruption triggered by the Ukraine crisis. Moreover, Nancy Pelosi’s tentative visit to Taiwan will further escalate the situation in the region. The international community needs to pay attention to these issues since such escalation won’t benefit any party. He also called for third-party participation in CPEC.
Sultan M Hali quoted Napoleon Bonaparte, who said, ‘Let China sleep. For when she wakes, she will shake the world”. He commended President Xi Jinping for maintaining the momentum of prosperity pursued by his predecessors. China’s governance in the new era (2012-2022) is a prime example of policy consistency and commitment to people’s prosperity. He also lauded China’s handling of Coronavirus Pandemic at home and the assistance it provided to developing and developed countries in the form of medical aid.
Dr. Zhang Jidong, Research Fellow, Division Director for International Cooperation, National Development and Reform Commission, quoted President Xi Jinping, who said that China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners and firmly support each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests and major concerns. The mutual trust and friendship between the two countries have stood the test of 70 years of international vicissitudes and have always been rock solid.
Dr. Safdar Sohail, Dean of the National Institute of Public Policy, Lahore, said that CPEC would be the roadmap for deeper bilateral trade and investment cooperation between Pakistan and China. Both countries, he said, want to cement this relationship further, and it will only be possible through the collective efforts of both parties.
Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, Joint Executive Director of Sustainable Development Policy Institute, said that we learned from China the importance of community-level governance, which has lifted millions of people out of poverty. He said that economic growth alone could not alleviate poverty unless and until the economic activity doesn’t generate employment. Moreover, he suggested including the services sector in the Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan and China.
The webinar lasted three and a half hours and was attended by over 50 participants. A diverse audience of students, scholars, and the media actively participated in this webinar.