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Experts urge structural reforms for benefitting from CPEC’s next phase

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Mushahid says CPEC resolved energy crisis, revived Gawadar & Thar projects, employed 70000 Pakistanis

ISLAMABAD – Experts on Wednesday called for comprehensive structural reforms in Pakistan’s governance, industrial infrastructure, economy, and energy sector to maximally benefit from the next stage of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related cooperation with China.

These reforms are required to stabilize the fiscal balance of payment, put in place a mechanism to ensure timely payments to Chinese operators of newly installed power plants, and also to address bottlenecks in realizing up-gradation of ML-1 project and setting up of SEZs in Pakistan, Islamabad Policy Institute (IPI), a think tank said in its report.

The recommendations were made in a report titled ‘BRI & CPEC: Venturing into the Future’ published by IPI, an Islamabad based think tank, on the occasion of the second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) being held in Beijing from April 25 – 27. The publication further coincides with the anniversary of CPEC launch.

This special report gives a background of the BRI, its vision and elements including brief introduction of overland and maritime corridors. It also brings out areas of policy collaboration; gives an overview of the first BRF, its outcomes and also provides an introduction of the second BRF.

The report delves into the progress made under CPEC and explores strategic, development and regional dynamics associated with CPEC and the challenges confronting Pakistani policy-makers in timely and successful operationalization of CPEC projects and routes.

The report further looks into the current state of cooperation in all sectors and also charts likely course of CPEC’s evolution in short-to-medium term. It gives a set of recommendations for Pakistani and Chinese policy-makers as CPEC enters the next stage with an expanded scope.

Chairman Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, who has penned the foreword of the report, said: “CPEC has resolved Pakistan’s chronic energy crisis, revived dead projects like Gwadar Port and Thar coal, given gainful employment to 70000 Pakistanis. Furthermore, CPEC is uniting the Federation of Pakistan, bringing together the less developed areas in the quest for a better tomorrow.”

IPI Executive Director Prof Sajjad Bokhari said: “The economic cooperation under CPEC is vital as the project is both an engine of growth and of strategic importance. To be successful, multi-dimensional cooperation should go beyond energy and infrastructure projects to address human resource requirements, as well as training and skill development in order to achieve improved connectivity”.

Report author Mr Faisal Ahmed noted that CPEC can prove to be a driver of economic development of Pakistan after decades of neglect. “It enables Pakistan to catch-up with leading regional economies.” He believed that CPEC can only be successful through prudent policy-planning and implementation. Enhanced communication between Islamabad and Beijing is crucial for addressing bottlenecks and challenges arising from time to time, he recommended.

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Xi Jinping declares China a moderately prosperous society in all respects

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BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) — Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, announced on Thursday that China has realized its first centenary goal — building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

The achievement marks a key milestone for the world’s most populous country on its journey toward national rejuvenation.

“This means that we have brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China, and we are now marching in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects,” said Xi, also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, at a ceremony marking the CPC centenary at Tian’anmen Square.

The achieving of moderate prosperity, or Xiaokang in Chinese, is measured in consideration of multiple aspects such as the economy, democracy, science and education, culture, society and people’s lives. The requirements include doubling the country’s 2010 GDP and per capita disposable income by 2020.

Last year, the country’s GDP exceeded 100 trillion yuan (about 15.45 trillion U.S. dollars). Its per capita disposable income hit 32,189 yuan, double the level in 2010. The country has developed the world’s largest social security system and boasts the world’s biggest middle-income group — 400 million people. In a historic feat, China has eliminated absolute poverty.

Poverty relief assistants Liu Ying (1st L) and He Changle (2nd L), and village officials help carry melons planted by villagers in Dongqin Village, Congjiang County of southwest China’s Guizhou Province, Nov. 11, 2020. (Xinhua/Yang Wenbin)

Xiaokang is a phrase about well-off life first mentioned in the Book of Songs, China’s first anthology of poems dating back more than 2,000 years. An idea cherished by the Chinese people for thousands of years has become a reality in today’s China.

Late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping once used Xiaokang to describe Chinese modernization, and first proposed building a Xiaokang society. The 12th National Congress of the CPC in 1982 set the achievement of Xiaokang as a goal. Later, Xiaokang was included in the country’s three-step strategic plan for economic development.

The country realized Xiaokang on the whole at the end of the 20th century. In 2002, the CPC put forward the aim of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. The 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012 set the goal of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020. The standards of and requirements for Xiaokang became increasingly comprehensive and strict.

The CPC stressed that no one should be left behind on the path to a Xiaokang society. In the past eight years, China focused on areas of extreme poverty, and lifted the final 98.99 million impoverished rural residents out of poverty by the end of 2020.

Over the past 40-plus years, the country has lifted 770 million people out of poverty, meeting the poverty eradication target in the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule, and resolving its greatest challenge in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

Li Weiyun, from Xiuyun Village of Cangxi County, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, has keenly felt the changes in his village. With the development of eco-agriculture, many villagers have moved into multistory homes and purchased cars.

“Now a good life has been achieved at home,” he said. He brought in an income of 200,000 yuan this year by growing peaches.

“It is a tremendous contribution to the world that 1.4 billion people are living a Xiaokang life,” said Liu Endong, a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

Such a feat has become a reality only under the leadership of the CPC, which “puts the people first, has strong execution capabilities, and upholds socialism with Chinese characteristics,” he said.

“China’s success in achieving Xiaokang has made important contributions toward the Sustainable Development Goals and provides valuable lessons for other countries in the global fight against poverty,” said Beate Trankmann, resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme in China.

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Global communication event ‘Daka China – Jinhua, A Golden Hub of BRI’ to start on June 6

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ISLAMABAD – A global communication event for the international community to better approach the cooperative spirit of the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) and the significance of East China’s Zhejiang Province to the BRI and globalisation will be held from 6th to 7th June in Jinhua, the most important node of Zhejiang stretching out towards the BRI.

The theme of the event is “Jinhua, A Global Hub of BRI”, showcasing the vital position of Jinhua to the scenario of BRI as well as Zhejiang’s active engagement in promoting globalisation and cross-cultural communication in an all-round manner.

The event will bring together nearly 100 journalists, government information officers, and social media influencers from countries along the BRI. It will be the 2nd grand event in the series of the brand new “Daka China” Global Communication Event, a flagship global communication project by Zhejiang Daily Media Convergence Technology Co., Ltd., one of China’s leading companies focusing on media convergence and digitisation.

The opening ceremony will include a series of keynote speeches delivered by social media influencers and government information officers from Jinhua City and Zhejiang Province. They will comment on the attractions of n Zhejiang, and Jinhua in particular, as well as on the future of international communication.

After the opening ceremony, all the attendees of the event will take a group tour around inside the Jinhua City and visit a few well-known scenic spots, including the Hengdian World Studios (the world’s largest film & TV base), Yiwu International Trade City (the world’s largest wholesale market). They will also experienced a few Jinhua’s authentic folk cultures such as the Wu opera, a traditional folk opera of Jinhua City.

In the break-out sessions, participants will have the opportunity to network and share their experiences of living and travelling in Zhejiang and Jinhua.

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China says ready to help India, other S Asian countries fighting COVID-19

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Virus origin probes should be left to scientists to investigate, not US intelligence agencies, says CPAFFC President

BEIJING, China – China has the willingness, capacity and resources to help India and other South Asian countries that are grappling with the new wave of COVID-19 cases, said the president of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC).

When India became engulfed in the second wave of COVID-19 cases and faced a severe shortage of medical resources such as protective suits, the CPAFFC expressed its willingness to help the Indian government, Lin Songtian, president of the organisation, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Thursday.

“As long as [India] asks, we will offer full support,” said Lin, noting that as  India’s most important neighbour, China has the willingness, capacity and resources to help Indian people overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met virtually with his counterparts from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh on Tuesday to discuss efforts to fight against COVID-19 and seek post-pandemic economic recovery.

The foreign ministers attending the online meeting reached an agreement to build China-South Asia emergency reserves.

Lin said that the CPAFFC is actively negotiating with local governments and institutes with which it has ties to collect anti-pandemic resources such as masks, protective suits, ventilators and other items to help India, as well as other South Asian countries.

Lin made the remarks to the Global Times while he was attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Forum on People-to-people Friendship, which is being held in Wuhan, Hubei Province from Wednesday to Friday.

Lin refuted recent smears against the Wuhan Institute of Virology from the US, after US President Joe Biden demanded that US intelligence agencies confirm in 90 days if the coronavirus emerged from a laboratory, sparking an uproar in the international community.

Virus origin probes should be left to scientists to investigate, not US intelligence agencies, said Lin, noting that the US’ moves are not scientific, and they serve the country’s aim of politicising as well as stigmatising the virus.

Lin said that choosing Wuhan to host the SCO’s first people-to-people exchange forum is aimed at sending a signal of gratitude to international friends who helped Wuhan and China combat the pandemic, boosting the morale of people who are still grappling with the pandemic, and sending out China’s friendly voice to the international community about building a community with a shared future for mankind, to cope with the major changes of the century.

Lin said that international relations should be led by both high-level government officials as well as people-to-people exchanges, which can boost mutual understanding and friendship between Chinese and people from other countries.

He also prioritised pushing forward people-to-people exchanges between China and the US. He said that over the past year, he had 22 online and in-person communications with Americans from all walks of life, including local governments of sister cities, research institutes, business circles and the media.

Lin said that in the course of those communications, he experienced a China-US relationship that is totally different from that which Western media have described.

“First, we share the same idea that both Chinese and Americans desire world peace. Second, the two countries’ companies and research institutes are looking forward to development, and third, the two countries can benefit from each other.”

But at the same time, the US government has been politicising its China policies by painting China as its biggest rival, which has been reflected in Washington’s decision to close Confucius Institutes and tighten visa approvals for Chinese students. US politics has poisoned public opinion, and public opinion has been kidnapped by politics, said Lin, noting that US politicians can now only win votes by waving the anti-China flag.

Against this backdrop, and with people-to-people exchanges cut off by the pandemic, the US government has been using the media to fabricate rumours about China and point fingers at Beijing, said Lin.

He believed that as an organisation that advocates friendly exchanges between people, it is important to let more people see the truth about China.

“First, it is important to invite Westerners to witness China’s development. Then, we can encourage foreigners in China to spread the truth about China to the outside world,” said Lin, noting that “the CPAFFC will organise foreigners in China to visit more places in this country, to form a deep understanding and to understand China, and through them, to demonstrate a real, dimensional China to the outside world.”

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