2019 has marked the successful holding of 5th CPEC Media Forum, a most prestigious and responsible platform to sensitize world about transparency, benefits and inclusiveness of China Economic Corridor (CPEC).

It has dawned new era of bringing closer China, the US, Pakistan and all global players on CPEC, an emerging focus of world which is signature project of BRI, by addressing spiral misperceptions in the light of facts instead of rhetoric.

Embarking on journey from infancy to maturity, CPEC Media Forum took its first breath on 17 November, 2015 organized by Chinese embassy Islamabad and Pakistan China Institute (PCI). It carried out 2nd CPEC media forum on 20th May in Beijing under the auspices of Chinese Embassy Islamabad in collaboration with China Economic Net (CEN) and PCI. The 3rd form was held on 27th November in Islamabad. The 4th forum held in Beijing which led to announcement of a “Rapid Response System” to expose fake news propaganda against CPEC. The event welcomed media journalists, both print and digital, along with Communist Party of China officials. A 12-member delegation spearheaded by Senator Mushahid Hussain, Chairman PCI and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee represented Pakistan side.

The 5th CPEC Media Forum, held in Islamabad, set the world afire by responding US concerns with logics and statistics and succeeded in establishing facts that “CPEC is Clean” and it founds the bases of shared destiny not only for Pakistan and China but for all countries regionally and globally.

PCI chairman and Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said CPEC’s biggest challenge was media management and CPEC Media Forum had fullest capacity to perform up to mark. He cited America’s Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (Build) Act a copycat of CPEC, saying it amounted to $60 b, equal to CPEC investment. The Build Act had been packaged as vital to counter China influence around the globe.

Despite various challenges especially bureaucratic snags, CPEC has been proved to be corruption free. National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and other relevant institutions launched probes but failed to find any sort of discrepancy and irregularity. About debt trap phenomenon, he said that 90 percent debt did not belong to CPEC.

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing commended the efforts of CPEC Media Forum saying both Pakistan and China were beneficiaries of CPEC.

Responding the allegations of Alice Wells, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, he said that China always came forward to assist Pakistan in need without any political or government differences.

“China never demands Pakistan to repay its loans in time if Pakistan will be in difficult situation,” he said while pointing out that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is strict in its repayment system.

Regarding accusation that “CPEC is not about aid,” by Alice Wells, , Ambassador Yao Jing questioned why US suspended its aid pledged for Pakistan only because of political considerations.

“CPEC provided more than 75,000 direct jobs for local Pakistanis, while around 2.3 million jobs are expected to be generated by 2030.I will be more happy to see more investment coming from the United States in Pakistan,” Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing said.

Ambassador Yao Jing was “astonished” at Alice Wells’ statement of higher tariff in power plants, established under CPEC, saying he himself had earlier briefed the US diplomat about the tariff structure of these plants and told that the tariff structure was the lowest among all the countries to whom Chinese companies provide electricity.

“When in 2013, the Chinese companies were establishing power plants in Pakistan, where was the United States? Why it did not invest in Pakistan’s power sector despite knowing that Pakistan was in dire need of electricity,” he questioned.

On the allegation of corruption in CPEC projects, Ambassador Yao Jing said it is super easy to level allegations without evidences.

Regarding the Main Line (ML-1) railway project that is to be executed under CPEC, Ambassador Yao Jing said that the project cost is around $9 billion; however, it is only estimation and not the final cost. “The real cost of the project will be finalised in the second stage of determining financial package of the project,” he said.

China Economic Net Editor in Chief Mr. Cui Jun said that In 2014, President Xi Jinping paid a visit to Pakistan, during which time the leaders of both countries reached a consensus on enhancing the exchanges between the media of the two countries. In this condition, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Media Forum came into being.

“After five years of development, this Forum has grown into an indispensable exchange platform for the Chinese and Pakistani media with the biggest influence and most remarkable achievements. I would like to thank the Embassy of China in Pakistan and the Pakistan-China Institute for your great efforts in this regard. And I do appreciate the tremendous contributions made by Ambassador Yao Jing, his predecessor, Ambassador Sun Weidong, and Senator Mushahid Hussain,” he added.

The Chinese media has attached great importance to this Forum, assigning representatives from several major media in China, including Ms. Meng Yuhong ,Deputy Editor-in-chief of Global Times from Peoples’ Daily; and Mr. Gao Nan in charge of international cooperation from Xinhua News Agency.

“It might be known to you that three of China’s most famous radio and television broadcasters, namely, China Central Television (CCTV), China National Radio (CNR), and China Radio International (CRI), have merged into the China Media Group, which has two of its important figures present today. One is Mr. Cao Ri from the former CCTV, and the other is Mr. Wang Qi from the former CRI. Mr. Wang Qi used to be the chief journalist stationed in Pakistan. And we also have Ms. Tan Limin, Deputy Director of Foreign Affairs Office, Guangming Daily, with us at this Forum,” he explained.

The smooth progress of the CPEC requires a favorable public opinion environment. The Joint Declaration signed by Prime Minister Imran Khan last year during his visit to China points out that both parties oppose to the negative publicity on the CPEC. What the construction of the CPEC needs is objective and fair media reporting and introduction rather than flattery words. At this Forum, the CPEC Communication Awards will be granted for the second time to the journalists who have made objective and fair reports and contributions to the CPEC.

Chinese companies which invest in Pakistan and launched information and business platforms for Gwadar to build smart city. Apart from our journalist station in Islamabad for more than three decades, we have also assigned representatives to Lahore and Gwadar this year.

On this occasion, he talked about work done by the Economic Daily and China Economic Net. “We have not only built specific teams and columns to cover CPEC and the China-Pakistan relationship, but also played our role as a bridge to push forward the economic and trade development of both countries. In the past two months alone, China Economic Net has carried out the following activities: It held the Pakistani Mango Festival in Beijing with the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Beijing. We sincerely hope that more Pakistani mangos can be imported to China, but we are concerned about the transportation and refrigerating issues. We funded and invited Gwadar fishermen to Fujian where they experienced the fishery culture, fishing, and processing technologies. They were deeply impressed by the advanced fishing industry of China. We invited friends from the Pakistan Stock Exchange to visit Shanghai and Shenzhen, in a bid to accelerate the development of the Pakistani capital market. Besides the above public benefit activities, we are also analyzing the feasibility of business cooperation between the two countries. For instance, we provided paid information consultancy services for Chinese companies which invest in Pakistan and launched information and business platforms for Gwadar to build smart city. Apart from our journalist station in Islamabad for more than three decades, we have also assigned representatives to Lahore and Gwadar this year,” he added.

China Economic Net has proposed four major strategies, namely “ mobile, professional, international, and diversified development”, and have made relevant achievements. This year will witness our profit-earning performance for eight consecutive years, and our revenue has been ten times as much as a decade ago. With respect to media development, we hope that Pakistani media can join us to march forward hand in hand.