By Bukola Ogunsina, Gansu Province, China
China’s largest media organisation, Peoples Daily just recently hosted Media Cooperation Forum on Belt and Road in Dunhuang, Gansu Province. President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been referred to by the Vice Chairman, Standing Committee, 12th National People’s Congress (NPC), Mr Zhang Ping, as the blue print for China’s opening up to the world. Just as interesting is the fact that this year’s BRI theme is, ‘New Cooperation prospects towards a shared community future.’
At the opening remarks, Vice Chairman, Zhang, stated that the Belt and Road initiative is relevant to development, momentum and trends of time which is based on reality embracing the keywords, ‘Peace, Cooperation and Openness,’ among others.
He stressed that the BRI was established to benefit and promote exchanges between countries and has gained several fruits and foreign attention. “We [China] are willing to share our ideas and learn from each other with the global media,” he said. He also pointed out that BRI has established a platform for media, academics, politics for a better way of enhancing communication and cooperation.
Mr Zhang, urged the media to be a spokesman for the spirit of the Silk Road which will promote peace, cooperation, openness, mutual learning and mutual benefits globally.
He underlined that the media was the ambassador of culture and friendship, and solid actions have been taken for the realisation of BRI, as it will benefit all countries.
Similarly, the President of Peoples Daily, Mr Yang Zhenwu noted that the BRI was established so that countries along the Silk Road can have cooperation on different skills and at different levels. “In the past four years we have signed MoUs with 33 media’s of 23 countries,” he said, adding that the voice of BRI has been spread all through the international community. “We have enhanced cooperation and people to people understanding,” he averred. He equally told the media to enhance sharing of news and exchange reports and articles on BRI. “We need to focus on policy research to build think tanks, to focus on key topics of BRI, to provide creative and solid ideas and solutions.”
He disclosed that China aims to build a BRI database, gather information from foreign media on various policies, have more exchanges with the international media, especially people to people, joint collaborations and so on in talents familiar with BRI policies for better quality broadcasting along the route of the road.
Furthermore, he stressed that people to people exchange was most active In the BRI.
The Secretary of CPC Gansu Provincial Committee, Director of Gansu Provincial People’s Congress, Mr Lin Duo believes that the BRI has expanded opportunities for the Province. The host province is fully involved in BRI development he said, adding that BRI has invested new vitality to China’s opening up and reform. Lin also pointed out that the media cooperation forum would deepen cooperation in Science and Culture, medicines and so on.
He noted that BRI will inspire communication and seeks to create peace, prosperity, openness, innovation as development is key to cooperation. He further noted that BRI, “Adheres to philosophy of mutual learning,” indicating that the Silk Road has survived for a long time because it has brought welfare and a good life to the people.
On his part, Mr Zheng Bijian Chairman of the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy (CIIDS) and Former Executive Vice President, Party School of the CPC Central Committee indicated that trade protectionism is not the best method for global economy, but rather building a cooperative road. Combining virtual economy and real economy. “The BRI was proposed four years ago and is well received by over a hundred countries and international cooperation,” he said. “The growth rate of developing economies have surpassed that of developed ones,” he further disclosed, adding that BRI embodies long circle of the world economy and can only be realised through harmony and world cooperation. The BRI for China, he revealed represents another round of joint development and for the world, it has created a shift from Maritime economic globalisation to connect maritime and inner land economic globalisation.
Bijian also noted that the BRI when initially proposed was misinterpreted, and is aimed at cooperation and adapting to new trend of globalisation. “We must join hands in promoting BRI and enhancing global economic realisation,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Minister, member of the CPC Leadership Group, Ministry of Commerce, Li Chenggang indicated that “The BRI is the Chinese solution to global cooperation.”
He stated that the BRI was a platform for developing ideas, to turn economic advantages to a bigger plan noting that BRI connects Chinese trade with world trade. It has 20 countries along the road and contributes 1.4 billion to tax value. He said the Ministry of Commerce will continue to promote trade and economic promotion and defend China’s market. Li said the Ministry will cooperate with more countries in areas of e-commerce and environmental protection. “Media is a bridge for the Chinese to understand the world as well as the world can understand China, and so people can have a better understanding of the BRI,” he said, while encouraging that it is good for the media to have exchanges among themselves.
The Group Editor in Chief, Independent News & Media (INM), Ireland, Mr Stephen Rae noted that there will be challenges while aiming to connect countries together. But the challenges are worth it in the context of BRI. “It will touch all part of economics and social lives of countries involved.” On the BRI, Rae said, “I believe by sharing our knowledge we can solve problems together.”
He added that the role of the forum helps in understanding and creating cooperation between medias. “Increased access to global media means we can reach and inform a large number of people,” he said, adding that infrastructure invested in many countries through BRI will be of benefit to all.
A Senior Editor with Bloomberg, Mr Otis Bilodeau noted that BRI is a “critically important initiative for the entire world.”
He indicated that Bloomberg believes BRI “will impact billions of lives,” and it provides opportunities for business investments and financing.
“As Chinese markets open up with currency available along the routes, investors will begin to invest in China,” he pointed out.
Bilodeau noted that the Silk Road allowed for mutual learning and sharing of ideas, stating that Bloomberg will tell China’s story to investors, and will examine and report the initiative with care and a standard of accuracy and fairness.” The Senior Editor said that Bloomberg will continue to invest, share best practices and continue to play a role in introducing China to the world.
Again, in the context of BRI, the Chairman of Editorial Board, Thisday Newspapers in Nigeria, Mr Olusegun Adeniyi said, BRI should, “Consider transparency, and this is were media comes in. We as journalists will help to promote the good of the society,” he observed, adding that, “Peoples Daily can use media tools to bridge gaps between media cooperation and their audiences.”
He indicated the caves in the famous Grottoes of Gansu speaks of the ingenuity of the Chinese people.
“There is nothing we cannot achieve if we work together for a common goal that is what the BRI promotes,” he said.
A Senior Advisor with Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) in the United Kingdom, Mr Guy Zitter, said he is in favour of the BRI. The first train to arrive from China to the United Kingdom took place this year 2017, taking 16 days, he disclosed. “The train came back to China with British goods, that’s trade,” he pointed out. He further added that China need not be discouraged by the people rejecting the BRI in the UK. “We need to make sure the world understands the benefits of BRI.
“This provides a platform for better communication, understanding and global peace,” he observed.
And in conclusion, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ofo, Inc, owners of popular shared bicycles in China and some foreign countries, Mr Dai Wei noted regarding the BRI, “I’m looking forward to more inclusive and open attitude.” He mentioned that just as he has a dream to convey convenient way of cycling to people, he has a dream that countries across the world will be connected stating, “We will embark on wider and deeper cooperation with countries along the BRI.”
According to reports, the Silk Road in the past is described as an ancient network of trade routes that were for many centuries vital to cultural interaction through some areas of Eurasia linking the East and West to the Mediterranean Sea. It also the points to both the terrestrial and the maritime routes linking Asia and Europe.
The event which took place in the historical city of the ancient Silk Road, Dunhuang, Gansu Province in China, saw media participants from 26 countries across the world In attendance.
The Peoples Daily has hosted over 200 forums and meetings all over the world.