Pakistan should learn Governance from China for “peaceful rise”: Ambassador Aizaz A. Chaudhry

Webinar on Governance in China establishes the need for key changes as Nong Rong says China stands by Pakistan in these difficult times, and Aizaz Chaudhry lauds China's development model.

ISLAMABAD (August 2): Dialogue on ‘Global Development & Governance’ with central focus on the theme of ‘Governance Experience Exchange Between Pakistan & China’, organized by the Pakistan-China Institute and Academy of Contemporary China & World Studies opened with remarks by, the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Nong Rong.  

According to reports, the dialogue had speakers from both Pakistan and China with opening remarks by China’s Nong Rong, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Chairman of the Defense Committee of the Senate of Pakistan & the Chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute, and Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of China International Communications Group (CICG), Gao Anming. The dialogue was moderated by Mustafa Hyder Sayed, the Executive Director of the Pakistan-China Institute, and Lin Kun, the Vice President of the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies, respectively.

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Addressing the participants, Nong Rong stated that China is eager to continue its support of Pakistan in the development model appropriate for the on-ground circumstances because the two states are “all-weather friends”. With CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), Rong added that China is eager to expand exchanges in areas of governance, such as by lowering poverty levels and improving the standard of living for the people. Praising the Communist Party of China (CPC), Rong added that their initiatives have made a profound change in China. He added that with the upcoming 20th Congress of CPC, China would set new objectives that would be accomplished with the aim to work together for the benefit of all. Rong affirmed that China and Pakistan are strategic allies and have by one another through tough times.

Meanwhile, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed began by extending congratulations to China on the 95th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) which was also celebrated as a goodwill gesture at Pakistan’s GHQ (General Headquarters). According to the Senator, the close cooperation between the Pakistan Army and the PLA is one that is appreciated since both are “brothers in arms”.

Referring to the recent visit of US Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Asia, and the tentative plans for a journey to Taiwan, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said that it would not only be unnecessary but also unwarranted. He added that such a high-level visit by an American official, especially the US House of Representatives Speaker, would violate the One-China Policy which was agreed upon by the US and the People’s Republic of China.

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Senator Mushahid Hussain expressed that such provocations hold the potential to destabilize Asia and give way to a new form of confrontations, which is something Asia cannot afford during these times. He stressed that Pakistan is committed to the One-China Policy as well as to the preservation, promotion, and protection of the strategic partnership with China. Discussing the Belt Road Initiative (BRI), which he termed to be the 21st century’s most significant development and diplomatic initiative, he said that CPEC which is a flagship of the BRI is progressing admirably. Quoting a study by Harvard University, the Senator argued that there was a higher level of satisfaction with the Central Chinese government.

Furthermore, referencing another study by Graham Allison of Harvard University, he added that China has managed to displace the United States (US) as the world’s top high-tech manufacturer by producing approximately 250 million computers, 25 million automobiles, and almost 1.5 billion smartphones in 2020 alone. Based on the study, there is no doubt that China has become a strong contender in the foundational technologies of the 21st century, including artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, quantum information science (QIS), semiconductors, biotechnology, robotics, and even green energy.

Addressing the participants, Gao Anming Vice President of CICG, stressed that the cooperation started under the BRI should be deepened to promote the CPEC initiative. Anming added that Global development is “inseparable” from connectivity and open cooperation thereby, the construction of the “Belt and Road” aims to be a win-win for those involved, and conveys hope. Since the inception of the construction under the initiative in 2015, the CPEC has managed to ring in a total of approximately $25.4 billion (US dollars) in direct investment to Pakistan with nearly twenty-two priority projects completed that have led to the creation of about 70,000 jobs for the locals resulting in improved livelihood.

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The dialogue then moved to the release of the joint research titled “Pakistan’s View On Governance Of China In The New Era (2012-2022): Perception and Inspiration” by Ambassador Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry a former Foreign Secretary and current DG of the Institute of Strategic Studies. Ambassador Chaudhry, while presenting the paper, said that China has managed to climb the ladder of success quicker than other countries. He added that under the rule of Mao Zedong, China was focused on specific areas of interest: universal education, and mobilization of men and women into the workforce. He added that to ensure success in the above areas, Chinese governance adhered to a clear vision and purpose and strived to achieve the goal of establishing China as a moderately prosperous society by 2049. Secondly, their governance system is centralized at the outset. That is to say, local congresses are elected democratically with guidance from the top management. Continuing along these lines, Ambassador Chaudhry argued that Pakistan should learn from China and adopt a similar approach for a “peaceful rise”.

Meanwhile, President of the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies, Yu Yunquan said that Pakistani experts believe there are two basic reasons behind China’s “good governance” in the new era. Elaborating, Yu said that one is wise leadership under President Xi Jinping and the second is the nature of governance as being “democratic consultative”. Additionally, moderator Mustafa Sayed stated that China’s peaceful rise is due to the consistency in policies adopted by the Chinese leadership. He argued that in the era of reform, the “inflection point” for China is its transformation into the second-largest world economy. Sayed argued that under the leadership of Xi Jinping, China is achieving its result of a community with a shared future as it is promoting people-centric policies. He added that this is why the CPC is the core and soul of China and is the driving force behind its prosperity.

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Referencing the book Has China Won? by Kishore Mehboobani. Sayed added that although Chinese tourists visit foreign lands yet they choose to return to China – which shows their level of contentment with the state of affairs in the country. Reaffirming the arguments made by Sayed, Wang Xiaohui, Editor-in-Chief of the China Internet Information Center (CIIC), elaborated that China’s development model is focused on “people-centered” goals. He added that Pakistan and China’s deepened cooperation has resulted in alleviating the energy crisis while paving way for the infrastructure modernization.

In lieu of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Dr. Ye Hailin the Deputy Director General of the Bureau of International Cooperation said that the world will witness increasing uncertainty due to the disruption in the global supply chain triggered by the crisis and that Nancy Pelosi’s expected visit of Taiwan will further escalate the situation across the region. Dr. Ye Hailin further argued that the international community should therefore pay attention to the issues to curb an expected escalation of conflict as it would not benefit any party.

The webinar which lasted approximately three and a half hours hosted nearly 50 participants, with a diverse audience of students, research analysts, and media personnel.

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Moreover, research fellow Dr. Zhang Jidong said that Pakistan and China are “all-weather” cooperative partners that support each other through the core interests of the other. Dr. Zhang added that the mutual trust and friendship have managed to stand the test of nearly seventy years. Similarly, Sultan M. Hali commended China as a steady support via its handling of the global pandemic of Coronavirus as China provided medical assistance and aid to both developing and developed countries.

Likewise, Dr. Safdar Sohail said that CPEC will prove to be a roadmap for deeper bilateral trade and cooperation between China and Pakistan. Meanwhile, Dr. Vaqar Ahmed commented that China has shown us the importance of “community-level governance”. He added that it is through the Chinese model that we have understood economic growth alone cannot alleviate a country out of poverty. Rather, generating employment plays a vital role.

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