China seeks media cooperation to promote Belt and Road initiative

Written By: Eric Biegon in China
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China is now keen to enlist the support of media outlets in a bid to spread the message of belt and road economic framework to requisite audiences.

According to Chinese vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, the media has a crucial role to play in ensuring that people all over the world understand what Belt and Road initiative is all about.

“China welcomes media outlets and think tanks to cooperate and consolidate public opinion while offering intellectual support for the Belt and Road initiative,” deputy Prime Minister said.

The high ranking Chinese government official was speaking during a meeting with media managers and journalists from leading media organizations at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing after comprehensive deliberations on the recently launched Belt and Road initiative amid praise for the c0ncept from those in attendance.

The more than 300 participants from 126 countries who had earlier converged in Dunhuang in Gansu province sought to build bridges undertaking to carry out campaigns to inform and educate billions around the world regarding the initiative.

The framework that is being championed by the Chinese government came to life in May this year when over 68 countries and international organizations endorsed its formation in Beijing. Since then, the vice chairman of the National People’s Congress of China Zhang Ping disclosed that “more countries have placed requests to be included as members of the Belt and Road framework.”

Since then, the vice chairman of the National People’s Congress of China Zhang Ping disclosed that “more countries have placed requests to be included as members of the Belt and Road framework.”

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“Belt and Road framework has turned from an abstract concept to actionable blueprint.” Mr Zhang said.

The NPC official, just like the vice premier, however admitted that a lot needs to be done to get more people to understand what the concept stands for. In his opinion, the “project of the century” as is being referred to, seeks to only build a community of shared future and prosperity for all.

In this regard, Mr. Zhang said China is ready to form partnerships between media organizations around the world where joined broadcasting and exchange of technology will be the order of the day.

His sentiments received support from the organizers of the three day event, “The People’s Daily”, the Communist Party of China’s flagship newspaper. The organization’s president Yang

The organization’s president Yang Zhenwu in fact pledged that his media outlet will soon launch a media center to boost Belt and Road cooperation.

“A center to strengthen cooperation among domestic and international media on Belt and Road will be established by the People’s Daily.” He said.

In this regard, the People’s Daily will take six specific actions to promote media cooperation. They include releasing a blue paper on belt and road, launching international media research center, starting a belt and road media for joint interview mechanism, establishing a cooperation union for belt and road, setting up a culture research institute and publishing an English version of the book series Ode to Silk Road.

They include releasing a blue paper on belt and road, launching international media research center, starting a belt and road media for joint interview mechanism, establishing a cooperation union for belt and road, setting up a culture research institute and publishing an English version of the book series Ode to Silk Road.

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Experts who graced the occasion heaped praise on the initiative arguing that in the long term, several decades ahead, the influence of Belt and Road will be great. Professor Colin Mackerras from Australia holds the view that the initiative will inject positive energy to the world economy and therefore must be supported by all.

“US-based globalization is getting weaker while China-based globalization is getting stronger.” Said Prof Mackerras.

Subsequent speakers castigated moves by sections of western powers which are currently pushing for trade protectionism as China takes up the mantle to lead the world’s globalization agenda.

Foreign journalists who formed the largest percentage of media practitioners present during the forum lauded the initiative terming it “a noble idea whose time has come.”

KBC Report Eric Biegon (Right) among scribes who attended the forum

According to Otis Bilodeau, a senior Executive Editor of Bloomberg News, Belt and Road is a critically important initiative for the entire world. In his opinion, the belt and road framework will impact billions of lives as it covers an area that includes 50 percent of the world’s GDP and roughly the same share of the world’s trade.

“Belt and Road presents opportunities for infrastructure investment and financing. Global investors have shown keen interest and are taking these opportunities seriously” he noted.

His colleague, Stephen Rae from Ireland’s Independent News and Media noted that today’s media has no option but to work closely on a number of areas such as in seeking a more unified and transparent approach to infrastructure, media plurality and proof of social economic benefits.

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“Increased access to global audiences gives us an opportunity to educate and inform more people than ever before and drastically reduce differences and knowledge deficits in individual regions” he said.

Other journalists present at the forum urged the Chinese leadership to ignore leaders who have exhibited protectionist tendencies narrating how Chinese-driven initiatives have changed the lives of people in their localities.

Guy Zitter who works for Britain’s Daily Mail said a first ever train from China to Britain arrived in 16 days. He says the journey was halved given that it normally takes 32 days.

“It’s hard for politicians to make big decisions on long term projects. It will be dreadful for president Xi and his advisors to listen to these pro-protectionism leaders.” He warned.

This year’s meeting was the fourth edition since it began in 2014 and the Media convergence is seen as the new cooperation mechanism that will help catapult the Chinese-led initiative into a higher acceptance level especially amongst target countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.

Among other things the 21st century maritime Silk Road seeks to promote unimpeded trade, infrastructure connectivity, financial cooperation, people to people exchanges and policy consultation.

Kenya and Ethiopia are the only two African countries which have so far signed into the initiative.

Twitter @EricBiegon

Email: biegoneric@yahoo.com

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