China and Pakistan think tanks should cooperate to cope with the “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” (CPEC) Public opinion debate | China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Center of Excellence visits Grandview Institution
On July 12, Mr Yasir Masood, the Deputy Director of the Media Publishing Department of the CPEC Centre of Excellence (herein the Center) and Editor of CPEC Quarterly, visited Grandview Institution. Mr Tian Shichen, the Vice President of Grandview Institution, welcomed Mr Masood and the two had a deep exchange of views on CPEC projects and future cooperation between the two sides.
According to the introduction of Mr Masood, CPEC Center of Excellence is the only official think tank in Pakistan that specializes in the study of CPEC, guided by the Ministry of Planning and Reform of the Government of Pakistan. The Center’s work currently revolves around CPEC related efforts invested by Pakistan, including regional activity coordination, financial integration, socio-economic development, human resource and employment growth, and urban development.
Mr Masood introduced their Center’s latest research on the public image of the CPEC. According to him, some countries have been behind many negative comments on CPEC. Therefore, the Center is researching into the possible instigators, their purposes and how governments should cope with the situation. The purpose of this piece of research is to help Pakistani people better appreciate CPEC and its positivity as well as authenticity when faced with misinterpretation of the project. “The Center of Excellence and I are devoted to telling people the truth,” said Yasir Masood.
Mr Masood went on to comment that the CPEC project should be more than just about governmental cooperation. Business cooperation is no less important while breaking the information barrier for businesses to have better investment experience is the key. To be specific in this regard, though 90% of security-related problems have been tackled, Chinese companies remain concerned about the security environment in Pakistan due to asymmetric information.
On the other hand, Mr Tian introduced Grandview’s research efforts and plans on the subject of CPEC. He also invited Mr Masood to discuss how to further strengthen cooperation between the two think tanks in light of a consensus on the importance of formulating an international communication strategy for CPEC. At present, there exists a gap between China and some Western countries in the understanding of the Belt and Road Initiative and cooperation under the framework. Moreover, there is often a barrier between Chinese enterprises and the local public.
In this regard, Chinese think tanks, as carriers of information and narratives, should bridge the existing information gap and break contemporary information barriers in the CPEC project. Mr Masood added that there are a good number of Western media in Pakistan, but there is not yet a media body from China to explain and promote the understanding of the Chinese foreign policy, the five thousand years of Chinese civilization, and history with no colonial experience at all. At the end of the discussion, it is agreed that both sides could strengthen joint research on Western media and communication strategy, bridging the understanding gap in the CPEC project at think tank level.