BEIJING - As a trusted friend and well-wisher, China has opened up its doors to Pakistan in a number of areas of development and progress.

In its ‘East looks West’ policy and rapid development programmes, China has offered tremendous opportunities to Pakistani students, academia, business entrepreneurs, media, industrialists, agriculturalists, artists and others for learning the modern day know-how in their respective field, share experiences and cooperate mutually to the benefit of both countries.

It is what a media delegation from Punjab picked up through interaction with various heads of universities, media houses and visits of the cultural and historical sites during an eight-day long tour of China held under the sponsorship of Chinese Consulate General to Lahore.

The 10-member delegation, led by politician-cum-senior columnist Muhammad Mehdi, during visit to Beijing, Shanghai and Zhengzhou cities saw a rising China in every sphere of national life. It was the time when the 19th National Congress of Communist Party of China (CPC) had just ended after re-election of President Xi Jinping for another term and incorporating in the Constitution his thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a New Era. It was a historical event.

Under the leadership of President Xi China has set target of becoming the largest economic power in the world by the year 2050. Pursuing a policy of opening itself up to the world, China, as such, is fast becoming a global attraction through rapid economic development backed by well groomed institutions. What it was understood from interaction with the Chinese people from the diplomat to a layman was that Pakistan holds much importance for China not because of the CPEC project but also as deep and sincere friend. The impression about Pakistan is very positive among the common people in China although at the official level, political situation in the country is well watched. China wants Pakistan to involve in its journey to development and progress as it falls in line with its policy of regional development and well being of the whole humanity.

Unlike the West, China is looking for development and progress of the region as product of its own advancement in trade and technology. Therefore, it hardly has any aggressive designs and trend of subjugation however not compromising on its defence capability.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship project of China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative that is going to open up China from Europe to Africa in all aspects of common wellbeing. The OBOR is going to change the total global paradigm and the Chinese are fast growing themselves up to play a leading role in that process. For Pakistan, it is a vital opportunity to equip itself beforehand with the future needs. As such Beijing has offered Pakistan at the public level help various areas of learning and development after initiating mega projects on energy and infrastructure at the government level in Pakistan. Chinese universities are ready to welcome Pakistani students for study on scholarships if they meet the set criteria. A number of Pakistanis undertake trade visits to China while a lot of room existed in other areas where Pakistani universities, cultural and social organizations can benefit from each other’s experience.

China is also becoming a tourists’ hub when it has developed its cities on the most modern lines. Media is playing a significant role on traffic load information to the citizens side by side keeping them abreast with other subjects and providing them entertainment. In print media, Chinese media houses are producing and publishing material in several languages while radios have developed their own Apps which both are serving China to let its policies known to the world and the inland people. The number of radio listeners is growing every day aided by enhanced circulation of the printed items abroad. This amply shows the growing appreciation/acceptance of the Chinese policies at domestic level and abroad.

The Chinese youth are well-focused on their job. They are learning English although Chinese language remains their first choice. In market and other places, barriers of Chinese languages have been softened and now buyers can easily communicate and bargain using English language. 

China, as in the past, has once again come up as a sincere and fast friend of Pakistan, and wants it to take benefits of the opportunities it has offered to the world and does not want it miss the same. China desires Pakistan to go with it in progress and prosperity. It is now up to Pakistan how it avails this golden opportunity.