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ISLAMABAD: Chinese embassy officials are finally pushing back at the critics of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Pakistan as a senior diplomat on Monday, in a rare rebuttal, denied any wrongdoing in the project and sought public support against ‘disinformation’.

The Chinese embassy, known for quiet diplomacy, had all along been uneasily watching allegations of unequal distribution of projects among provinces, lack of transparency, corruption in CPEC projects, and environmental concerns, but it was not the same at a seminar organised by Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) — a local think tank — where acting Chinese ambassador Zhao Lijian strongly dismissed the criticism.

“CPEC is working well. But there are some people who are maligning the project, which enjoys the support of most of the people of Pakistan,” he said while responding to a question about the embassy’s handling of the objections being voiced by different quarters.

The main criticism of the project has been that Punjab was the main beneficiary at the cost of smaller provinces.

Mr Zhao said some called it ‘China-Punjab Economic Corridor’, but the reality is that Balochistan had a larger share in the project. “Then why not call it China-Balochis­tan Economic Corridor,” he said addressing the detractors.

Examine: What’s ‘P’ in CPEC?

He further dismissed allegations of corruption. “This is all taxpayer’s money. These are investment projects. How can we tolerate corruption or bribe,” the diplomat said adding a transparent bidding process was in place for award of the projects.

About the alleged secrecy, Mr Zhao said all information was readily available. Citing the presentations at the seminar, he said where did all these people get their figures? “Some people are making false allegations”, he observed and said public support was needed to counter the disinformation campaigns by the opponents of CPEC.

In his briefing, he sought to allay concerns of environmentalists about the coal power projects. “All international standards are being complied. Environmental issues would be taken care of,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2016

Comments (87) Closed

Zak Dec 20, 2016 08:33am

China need not worry, those anti CPEC are in minority as are not in favour of Pakistan becoming a great nation, we pity their intellect, majority of Pakistanis implicity trust China and hope for more investment from China in coming days .

Manzoor Dec 20, 2016 08:36am

It is no else than Imran and his frustrated followers who are spreading canard against CPEC.

Port kaasim Dec 20, 2016 08:36am

Corruption and development are two sides of a Coin

Zak Dec 20, 2016 08:41am

Good , brush them aside , as these detractors don't matter anyway.

irfan farooqui Dec 20, 2016 08:44am

Big slap on local and International media, analysts who continuously busy in criticizing CPEC...

Alwin James Dec 20, 2016 08:47am

There is one more saying "divide and rule "

kamal pasha Dec 20, 2016 08:51am

Our squint eyed Iron brothers will have our full support for all their projects, CPEC will surely change the landspace and destiny of the entire planet.

Waqas Shaikh Dec 20, 2016 08:57am

Big slap on PTI and IK.

Fast Dec 20, 2016 09:14am

No power on earth can harm CPEC.Inshallah

Manjunath Naik Dec 20, 2016 09:16am

So its hunky dory once again. The people were all wrong and now its a corruption free project. Bravo..!!! If the figures were wrong; lets see the real figures. CPEC now has reached a stage where China cannot be fool hardy to let it go and hence these statements. There is another Chinese saying 'The cat and the rat are asleep together'. It means, on corruption you can have strange bed fellows.

sam Dec 20, 2016 09:20am

Sir we salute you entire nation of Pakistan support CPEC. And you are the best President of China. Pakistan loves China and China loves Pakistan.

Arshad Dec 20, 2016 09:21am

It was sole responsibility of the government to address all the issues and apprehensions against CPEC that failed miserably bringing in clarity & awareness amongst the public & Politicians alike. Finally, Chinese had to take up this job as well to inform the media/public hard facts of the CPEC, thus addressing the myths and propaganda. Thank you China!!!

Rational Dec 20, 2016 09:27am

Cheap Chinese goods will kill local vulnerable industry in Pakistan.

Sohail Dec 20, 2016 09:29am

It is unfortunate that China can help Pakistan but cannot eradicate corruption from its system. PMLN has already made the CPEC controversial by re routing via Punjab and I am sure they will be making money via government tenders. What will be even more unfortunate, if this whole thing unravels after Trump and Arab country carrots and sticks. As someone has said, we are Carpet salesmen, willing to sell everything for a little profit.

sam Dec 20, 2016 09:38am

@Rational Sorry too late not only Pakistan but the whole world is flooded with cheap Chinese products, and this is why CPEC came into being, it is a big game changer for both China and Pakistan cheap freight and fast delivery. Gawadar and China were at the same location thousands of years ago, but the Fun part have just begun. So everyone who is against CPEC just hold thigh and enjoy the show.

Noor Dec 20, 2016 09:39am

China is becoming USA. Started meddling in our domestic issues. It should go back to being silent.

Last Word Dec 20, 2016 09:45am

Pakistan who signed CPEC agreement with China leaving terms and conditions to the latter is now at the receiving end. China benefits both commercially and strategically with respect to Pakistan in a ratio of 70% to 30%.

Ash Dec 20, 2016 09:43am

but why he is talking about the internal lines and divides of Pakistan, this is the job of Pakistani people and its government to iron out internal issues?

Anwar Mahmood Dec 20, 2016 09:49am

CPEC is a very grand project and just ignore those few minority who criticize it.For any thing or any project, there will always be a few criticals in every country.

Why criticize coal to power wnen even America, China and India and most of the world produce 70 percent of their power from coal. With environmental controls built in, black coal becomes green coal.

What will be most exciting about CPEC will be the post CPEC gas and oil energy projects.Any one can see 5-6 trillion cubic feet gas transport pipe lines on Pak soil to supply that gas from middle East to both China and Pakistan. There could spring up 2-3 mbpd oil refining to supply diesel and gas to CPEC serving transports trucks and trains besides exporting value added 150 dollars per barrel refined gas and diesel products to China from Pak based refineries instead of of shipping 50- 60 dollars per barrel crude oil. Bravo China and bravo Paks will be playing wonders with CPEC.

kanwarch Dec 20, 2016 09:50am

Transparency and free information sharing by PMLN government will allay all the doubts. Problem lies with dictatorial PMLN government and the way they are governing the country and not our Chinese friends. If all the information is shared on the floor of the house in the parliament then none of the criticism will hold. Currently nobody knows the details and tariff of LNG contract with Qataris and even the information about Orange line project documents is being kept in secret by the government. Democracy means transparency and right of people to get the necessary information, after all the government is working on behalf of tax payers and they are servants of the state and people.

freeman Dec 20, 2016 09:53am

@Port kaasim You need to choose which side you want. You can't move with both side.

Zulfi Khanzada Dec 20, 2016 09:58am

Its a game changer for Pakistan (jobs, economic growth - esp. in transportation, infrastructure, power sectors).

Having said that govt. must ensure that the Chinese Loans, Chinese Goods - a. Don't end up dictating Pakistani Policies and b. Don't destroy domestic industries. The world dynamics change quickly and Pakistan must not keep all eggs in one basket. Making peace with neighbors is a must in order bring more stability in the region and to attract additional foreign investments to balance Chinese investments.

IMTIAZ ALI KHAN Dec 20, 2016 10:16am

Love China and Pakistan friendship. CPEC is going great, thank you all the Chinese engineers, civilians and crew working side by side with their Pakistanis counterpart throughout Pakistan. A true time tested friendship. The demand for Mandarin language lessons is growing all walks of life. Thank you Pak Armed forces for providing security for the project. CPEC will continue no matter how much negative propaganda is done by anyone. Love from Pakistan my beautiful Chinese family.

Shuaib Dec 20, 2016 10:15am

We support CPEC, we support China and Pakistan good relationship we stand with you brothers.

noman Dec 20, 2016 10:18am

thank god that China has grown some spine and made some much needed clarifications. PTI and IK thrive on misinformation and propoganda. They misled the nation on election rigging and said they had mountains of evidence to support their claims. So unfortunate that they damaged democracy and civilian rule, forcing the government to make concessions with the military. For the past 2 years, PTI has been shouting out that CPEC is all wrong and that there is so much secrecy. Poor lies for the consumption of the masses. Whose agenda is it to siege Islamabad, sabotage Pakistan's one chance for existance (CPEC), discredit democracy and elections, and malign all other leaders including politicians, Chief Justices past and present, and now generals as well? Surely this is the agenda of anti pakistan forces!

Mohajir Dec 20, 2016 10:21am

People please google "China Sri lanka debt" and you will see the reality and facts about Chinese way of doing business.

We need to learn from history and experiences of Sri Lanka before getting in the similar situation.

Muhammad Aijaz Umer Dec 20, 2016 10:27am

China is our iron friend. Our people needs to realize that it is an investment not aid. We need to accept Chines Coal fired power plant as they are working successfully in China but we need to ensure that international Engineering codes and standard should prevail. Chines material will be acceptable if they are equivalent or better than International Standards. My concerned is the location of 1200 MW Sahiwal Coal fired project based on imported Coal. To operate this plant at 90 %availability we have to transport 4 Million tons of Coal from Karachi port to Sahiwal. If we will not succeed to transport this huge amount of Coal then investment remains underutilized. This plant will emit 10 Million tons of CO2 and will impact agri land and people health. The tariff of Quid-e- Azam solar park is the punishment to the poor people of Pakistan. 1100 MW nuclear Unproven unit is safety threat to life line City of Pak and technical threat per Grid system stability point of view

Mohajir Dec 20, 2016 10:32am

Everything boils down to money. Can somebody enlighten me how will Pakistan make money from CPEC ?.

If you say jobs, economic growth do you know anybody who got job because of CPEC or did Pakistan's Forex jump due to CPEC ?.

All I see is loans and more loans . Someday these loans need to be returned with interest. Where is the money that is getting generated from CPEC ?

Mohajir Dec 20, 2016 10:31am

@Zulfi Khanzada So you think Chinese goods will flow thru Gwadar to entire world but they will not get sold in Pakistan ?.

How can Pakistan's industries compete against Chinese ?

Li-N-Ja Dec 20, 2016 10:33am

Most of the criticism by political parties are for corruption and not against the CPEC per say. Criticism in democracy helps its foundation to strengthen and creates fear amongst the wrong doors. So lets take the criticism also positively and don't suspect foreign hand on that. Suspecting foreign conspiracy on everything shows imbalance of our mental health. The easy way out of collect all the complaint backed by evidences and setup an enquiry commission by a retired judge of SC with a definite timeline. Similarly we can setup a Grievance Commission wherein segment of the society who are feeling left out or injustice can represent which can recommend remedial measures. However, outsiders should not comment on internal matters unless asked for.

Mohajir Dec 20, 2016 10:38am

CPEC is like a foreign bank is financing to build more rooms in your house, build new bathrooms, get new furnishings, upgrade home electronic goods - all seems so good so welcoming because not a single dime has to go out from pocket.

The problem comes when foreign bank will ask his money back.

shawn Dec 20, 2016 10:50am

@Noor it is investing its own money and it is defending it. once they say nawaz or imran is good or bad then you can say interfere

shawn Dec 20, 2016 10:52am

@Mohajir you all need to go learn economy and business. Right now its just chinese companies but it is impossible that other countries will not invest once the route starts working. China is constructing the route from which pakistan will not benefit but the investment from other countries which is a definite will be beneficial. Investment is giving three things to Pakistan - infrastructure, energy, and better porting facilities to manage ourselves and increase other investers interests.

THOUGHT PROVOKING Dec 20, 2016 10:53am

The CPEC would be a big game changer economically and strategically for both china and Pakistan in this region . The coal power projects would be a great investment in power sector development. The public support is needed to counter the disinformation campaigns by the opponents of CPEC. The Pakistan will get benefited of this Agreements and Black coal will become a green coal technology in future ..

Zulfi Khanzada Dec 20, 2016 10:58am

@Mohajir: That's what I fear - the excess Chinese goods will flood Pakistan and could be harmful to the domestic industry.
There is need to identify areas in Domestic Industry that employs a lot of people, these need to be incentivized (e.g. less tax or tax breaks), Competing Chinese Goods need to be taxed (in short term) to allow the domestic industry to remain competitive. Obviously in long term industry needs to pull up its socks.

And yes , Pakistan will make money directly and indirectly from the corridor. Directly by levying taxes on Goods destined for Gwadar from China and vice versa. Indirectly via taxes collected from industries that come up due to the corridor (e.g. Transportation, Hospitality, etc.). The More CPEC is used by the Chinese, the more the tax collection will be.

Btw I don't believe that CPEC alone will eliminate all economic woes as some here believe. But there is some very constructive start.

viv Dec 20, 2016 11:14am

@Zulfi Khanzada brother you have raised good points but real question is weather China will allow its goods to be taxed by Pakistan.The whole agreement for CPEC is so shrouded in mystery that even it is not clear if Chinese trucks will pay toll tax for using these roads.How much tax they paid for first convoy of 150 trucks which traveled recently?

shivaji Dec 20, 2016 11:23am

@Zak - What you mean

indomeya Dec 20, 2016 11:34am

whether CPEC is a game changer or not will be deciced by time to come but people in pakistan have as such no other option in near sight to celebrate and highlight any other projects , some may say cpec itself is enough but having said that truth is with completion of project paytime beguns

A Dec 20, 2016 11:38am

@Noor " China meddling in Internal matters .....'

Are the fans of China realising this ? This is a wrong precedent ...expect direct criticism of the Governance also in future.

IMTIAZ ALI KHAN Dec 20, 2016 11:53am

@Shuaib Amen

MAVERICK Dec 20, 2016 12:10pm

CPEC will lead to cultural invasion of Pakistan and its values. The cultural differences are greater than religious intolerance. When East And West of Pakistan could not reconcile, it would be turmoil when Chinese influence ( which is totally alien to Pak culture) invades. Anyway it is too late and the price will paid heavily.

A shah Dec 20, 2016 12:15pm

The tide is turning against CPEC.

Dino Dec 20, 2016 12:27pm

Believe CPEC is a great initiative for the development of the region. I think all the problem pakistan is suffering from can be linked to the high proverty and disparity. Being an Indian I feel it would be great for us if the project is successful as a successful and developong neighbour will be mean the focus would be diverted from hostilities towards economic uplifment.

abid Dec 20, 2016 12:29pm

@Alwin James , and its english style...

IMTIAZ ALI K HAN Dec 20, 2016 12:30pm

@Anwar Mahmood Be well yaar :) Thank you.

Mubashir Munir Dec 20, 2016 12:35pm

my father told me a story of a painter who made a wonderful picture and put it in a balcony with the inscription please point out mistakes in the picture and was shocked to see in the evening the picture was damaged by marks all over the picture. but his father asked him to make picture again and write in side of it to improve the picture .the picture remained in the balcony and no body touched it. It is suggested for the people who object to cpec to give an idea of a better CPEC or stop criticizing.

Rashid Dec 20, 2016 12:36pm

@Rational why you are spreading the misconceptions regarding CPEC, Chinese are using it as a shortest transportation route for their goods to be exported to the rest of the world.

udacha Dec 20, 2016 12:47pm

With CPEC, our muslim brothers in Xinjiang would be benifited tremendously. Also since China would do all the production, Pakistani's would be free to indulge in religious lessons and acts and can fulfil their basic needs by the money earned on the transport of such goods and for providing security. No more need for hard work of studying and producing and competing. It is a good thing for everyone involved.

Feroz Dec 20, 2016 12:59pm

Of course true, when the bills for these golden projects come due they can be paid back not with cash but propaganda.

bkt Dec 20, 2016 01:07pm

CPEC is a game changer. It matters little whether Punjab gets most of the benefits - they already loot this country massively and no one has bothered to stop them. In fact both military and Sindhi parties has assisted Punjab so why complain now? CPEC is simply a passage way for Chinese goods to reach the Middle East and African markets and for the raw materials to go to China. Because Pakistan's infrastructure will improve it can also access the Chinese markets. It is a great opportunity for all provinces for the future.

IMTIAZ ALI KHAN Dec 20, 2016 01:07pm

President XI pictures looks good. Honest leader President XI.

dp Dec 20, 2016 01:19pm

it is not what chinese say that matters but what they do actually matters !

Vineeth Dec 20, 2016 01:20pm

Its a bad situation when the Chinese envoy has to step in to address the accusations of squabbling provinces. Isn't that the duty of the Federal govt?

Mudassir Dec 20, 2016 01:23pm

Chinese did massive corruption in Neelum Jehlum Hydal Power Project according some inside sources. Chinese officials are learning quickly from their corrupt Pakistani counterparts. China should activate its intelligence agencies in order to identify corruption by Chinese officials involved in different projects across Pakistan.

M. Asghar Dec 20, 2016 01:35pm

To benefit from the CPEC project, Pakistan has to be well prepared on the ground to play its part clearly otherwise it may end up as the Chiese affair set up only to serve their inerests.

Namo Dec 20, 2016 01:43pm

@kamal pasha "The whole planet"really,please learn to differentiate between dreams and reality.

SAIF Zulfiqar. Dec 20, 2016 01:46pm

@Vineeth, It is not the squabbling provinces, but some Indian agents who are complaining. The biggest failure of Modi government is that he failed to hurt the CPEC. This project is going forward day by day. Long Live Pak-China friendship.

Waqas Bin Adam Dec 20, 2016 01:56pm

@Last Word This 30% of Pakistan is much more than 70% of China, as compared to population of both sides.

RE Dec 20, 2016 02:33pm

There are four corrupt Chinese companies are involved in CPEC.

Princess_of_DHUMP Dec 20, 2016 02:56pm

In our country - We do not tolerate any development initiative started by the political party that we do not approve of. It has always been this way and unfortuantely it will remain this way for the time being. CPEC Project Managers should focus on their job. People who are always crying for nothing will continue crying for nothing

Super Cop Dec 20, 2016 03:20pm

@Anwar Mahmood sir agree , but China India and will all be providing electricity to their people using renewable resources. For India the target is 40℅ by 2030. China has badtrack record when it comes to Investment as their ROI is too much and they destroy indigenous industries of a country ...CPEC will be costly and will be used to employ thousands of Chinese . How many Pakistanis will get high end job, only time will tell.

Azmeen Dec 20, 2016 04:17pm

@Rational Local poor consumers will benefit anyway in case you are correct.

Azmeen Dec 20, 2016 04:18pm

Befitting response to anti-CPEC elements.

Iftikhar Husain Dec 20, 2016 04:24pm

There are US agents still roaming about in the country.

Chelfls Dec 20, 2016 04:24pm


well said mohajir.

GK Netherlands Dec 20, 2016 04:39pm

If you follow his Tweet you will agree he is without reason very aggressive and has made provocative statements ...

Mango Man Dec 20, 2016 04:40pm

Soon Pak will start repaying the $46 B debt to China with an economy that $22B reserves and a $232B GDP carrying a 75% debt servicing ratio. Do the math! Pak is adding a cool 25% debt to its economy when it is already having 75% debt on its GDP, which will lead to a never-ending downward spiral unless some pull back happens before it is too late. Adding more debt in such a situation is suicidal, any commerce student will tell you.

anony Dec 20, 2016 04:41pm

We, the Pakistani citizens, fully support the CPEC project.

Long live Pak-China friendship

Fried Chillies Dec 20, 2016 04:52pm

Google the deal China offered Nigeria to build roads and for their oil.

China will sell its mass produced goods including clothes, leather, agriculture to the west. These industries are also mass employment generators. Pakistan is a direct competitor who would lose both industry share and employment opportunities yet it's perplexing the support average Pakistani extends to this project.

isb Dec 20, 2016 05:11pm

CPEC is already half way through completion so its too late for the trouble makers.

Sh shiraz Dec 20, 2016 05:32pm

There is nothing against CPEC, it's all about distractions in Pakistan, unfortunately we have 2 brothers who have hands on all Pakistan assets, wealth and resources, they are spending all on Punjab especially on Lahore and taking good chunk of share into their own pockets, just look at theirs now and before they came in politics, almost more than a billion time high.

VINOD Dec 20, 2016 05:35pm

Pakistan has to learn the basic that is there is no iron friend in international relations.

M. Siddique Dec 20, 2016 05:44pm

Will CPEC pass by Quetta or Sibi, two largest cities in Balochistan?

M. Siddique Dec 20, 2016 05:42pm

@Zak, Yes the critics are in minority because Punjab is the majority province and other provinces are in minority.

Jamal Dec 20, 2016 06:03pm

@Manjunath Naik thanks for your observation which has been noted and duly ignored.

aamir ayub Dec 20, 2016 08:09pm

CPEC is a major chance for Pakistanis to change the fortunes so please dont politicse it, especially the PTI should be refrained from doing any dirty politics on CPEC. In the past the PTI has hit many national interest just to malign Nawaz Sharif so be refrained on CPEC

Raheel khan Dec 20, 2016 09:57pm

Small businesses are going to shut down soon. Be prepared. Our people will be working like Chinese workers. No family time or life. Our country is being sold to the Chinese economy. No country has friends. All countries have personal interests only. Let's not be foolish in thinking China is a friend. CPEC will enable easy sale of Chinese goods in Pakistan. Which means further growth of Chinese economy. Sure there will be more jobs for us. But we will be working more for less money like the Chinese people do. Surely you all understand this !!

Noor Dec 20, 2016 10:03pm

@shawn yes it is investing their money BUT it's on LOAN. Not some aid/gift. China needs cpec also. We should get out of this inferiority complex. And dude this is just the beginning. USA started with mild statements like this and now look what it says/demands.

It's better to tell them in the start that we dont like to be bullied / talked down to.

john cool Dec 20, 2016 10:22pm

@Mohajir an extract from diplomat "Sirisena soon realized his room for maneuver was far more limited, and his country far more indebted to China, than he imagined. Of the $5 billion China issued between 2005-2012, only two percent took the form of outright grants; the rest were loans at or near “commercial interest rates as high as Libor plus six percent.” Meanwhile, the loans from China’s Ex-Im Bank were “mainly offered to buy Chinese products and services,” according to one Sri Lankan financial analyst, while the laborers and subcontractors are all Chinese and “all raw material is imported from China.”Ring any bells?

F Khan Dec 20, 2016 11:33pm

Thank you politicians for making CPEC another Kalabagh Dam.We Pakistanis are champions in creating controversy and conspiracy theories. We damn care of the national image or reputation.At least all 5 big political parties (PMLN,PPP,PTI,MQM,JI) should come out in support of CPEC to counter this false propaganda of bias as stated by chinese ambassador.

vorshal Dec 21, 2016 03:20am

@Manjunath Naik -- Why do you need to comment. CPEC is all for China and its companies and trade. It will leave Pakistan bereft of industrial set up and suffer from the theory of comparative costs. We should wish Pakistan all the very best for CPEC and the like!

vorshal Dec 21, 2016 03:22am

@IMTIAZ ALI KHAN -- All billionaires look good. Look at Zardari and Sharif, they all look very good!

Alam Dec 21, 2016 08:45am

CPEC is quite a game changer but I disagree with Chinese focal person saying all measures are taken to protect environmental changes. People of thar desert are protesting, coal minning destroyed their lands. Furthermore non of them paid for their lands. Please solve these grievances before giving such statements.

Gopal Das Dec 21, 2016 08:45pm

The true face of China will be revealed later on. They are cruel businessman. In business they cannot differentiate between friend and foe. Sri Lanka is gradually realising this.A new imperial power in the making more severe than USA. How it bullies smaller nations in SCS & ECS.

Zak Dec 22, 2016 10:35pm

That put the foreign funded anti CPEC campaign to rest. It's happening succesfully.

Zak Dec 22, 2016 10:35pm

@Manjunath Naik you should know, a criminal in your country, killed Minorities, pocketed $6m in corruption and became Prime Minister. Concentrate within.

Imtiaz ali khan Dec 23, 2016 12:20pm

@vorshal Corrupt Zardari/Nawaz please don't compare them with President XI that is a different league of politicians. Who rise from the soldier level in the communist party and put their country first. President Xi is an honest man for his people and that is the most important quality in any leader.