Online Internship Program Report

Online Internship Program Jointly organized by the Youth Diplomacy Forum and the Ex-Chinese Association from 19 November till 11 December 2022: 

Topic: Understanding Dynamics of Xinjiang and China’s role in global sustainable development

First Session: 19th November 2022

Topic: Understanding Dynamics of Xinjiang Region, China’s Role in Sustainable Development of Neighboring countries

Report of First Session

Keynote Speakers

The keynote speakers of the webinar were Mr. Nasir Khan. He is the president of Ex. Chinese Association and the former president of ICCI (Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries) and Mr. Irfan Shahzad Takalvi, head of Eurasian Century Institute and CEO of Policy Pak and was moderated by Ms. Aimen Jamil Executive Director at Youth Diplomacy Forum. The session took place via zoom platform.

Speakers of Panel Discussion

The panel discussion was moderated by Syed Shams UL Hassan, he is the emerging Sinologist and Researcher.

Following are the speakers who had given their insightful thought on the given topic covering the vast dynamics of Xinjiang region.

  1. Hina Habib
  2. Zameer Asadi
  3. Khizar Zaman
  4. Musawar Tanoli
  5. Multazim Raza Khan
  6. Azeem Khan

Key Points under Discussion

The experts had shed light on the Xinjiang province which had close ties with this province for the last two decades. Who has made it very clear that the perspectives which are moving around our heads are the misperceptions that have been put around our minds by media, it’s the one side perception we have never seen such things from Chinese perception. To make these perceptions clear it’s important to learn about Xinjiang from the inhabitants of the region.

Xinjiang holds a significant position in China’s regional connectivity, socially, economically, and for cultural linkages with neighboring countries like Pakistan. Xinjiang is the hub of the Belt and Road Initiative since it serves as China’s gateway to Central Asian, Middle Eastern, and European markets (BRI). It is the BRI country with the largest logistics hub.

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Multilateralism and China:

The theme of our time continues to be peace and progress, and there is no stopping the trend toward multi-polarity and economic globalization. We must pursue the idea of human society with a common destiny while keeping the well-being of individuals in the forefront of our minds. We shall do our part to improve the world by taking specific steps to improve it for everyone.

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China has also increased its economic and security cooperation with neighboring countries, particularly with South Asia, Central Asia, and East Asia, and in broader terms with European and African countries.

The last part of the session was followed by an interaction between the participants and the speakers through the answer and question session.

Read More about China-Qatar Gas deal:

Second Session: 20 November 2022

Topic: Socio-economic reforms, Industrial Revolution and Opening up

Keynote Speakers

The keynote speakers of the webinar were Dr. Mehmood Ul Hassan, he is the executive director at the Center for South Asia and International Studies, Islamabad. He is an expert on the Eurasian region and China. The second speaker was Mr. Irfan Shahzad Takalvi head of Eurasian Century Institute and CEO of Policy Pak and was moderated by Noor Sultana, director of finance at Youth Diplomacy Forum.

Key Points under Discussion

The speakers talked about China’s socioeconomic reforms and industrial development which uplift China’s internal and external position. China started to modernize its economy in the years 1978 to 1990. It presented elements of the capitalist economic system and Emphasized increasing employee wages. Additionally, it attempted to incorporate market-based reforms and centralized planning.

Reforms in the agricultural, industrial, financial, banking, price-setting, and labor systems started to take place. Further steps were taken to expand areas of foreign direct investments. Decentralized state control was implemented in China as well. Additionally, the Shanghai Stock Exchange, which Mao had shuttered forty years previously, was reopened.

After 1992, privatizations started to pick up speed, and by the middle of the 1990s, the private sector was contributing a significant amount of GDP.

Goals for eradication of poverty were also introduced turning China into a modern socialist nation in every way and advancing the revitalization of the Chinese people through a Chinese road of modernity. Industrialization, which was a significant contributor to the country’s overall economic growth, greatly helped China’s efforts to combat poverty by utilizing the surplus labor from the agricultural sector.

China is referred to as “the world’s factory” in addition to its low labor costs due to the country’s robust business environment, lack of regulatory compliance, low taxes and customs, and competitive currency practices.

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China introduces the policy Made in China 2025 is a strategic plan launched in 2015 that aims to reduce China’s dependence on foreign technology and promote Chinese technology manufacturers in the global market. The goal is to reach that target by 2025, ten years after the year the plan first took hold.

The key goal of the Made in China 2025 software is, in an international which it perspectives as more and more ruled via way of means of U.S.-China competition, to become aware of key technology, which include AI, 5G, aerospace, semiconductors, electric powered automobiles and biotech, indigenize the ones technology with the assist of country wide champions, stable market.

As China is one of the emerging superpowers of the world all the factors mentioned above had played a significant role in making china one of the largest economies of the world.

Third Session: 26 November 2022

Topic: China’s Special Initiative for Sustainable Progress of Developing Countries

Keynote Speaker

The keynote speaker of the webinar was Zamir Ahmad Awan, he is a professor at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Sinologist and his research is focused on China the session was moderated by Aimen Jamil, Executive Director at Youth Diplomacy Forum.

Key Points under Discussion

Mr. Zamir talked about long-term planning instead of going for short-term solutions which actually means sustainable development, and having a proper strategic framework for the prosperity of a nation. This phenomenon was very well explained by the example of China. In the 1970s China abundant its low-key profile and look out in the world to maximize its abilities. China’s transition from a poor country to the world’s second-largest economy is an astonishing move by China.

Zamir Ahmad Awan

China not only focuses on its own development after abandoning its low-key profile but also wants its neighbors to grow and prosper with it. So for that, it is investing in power plants, agriculture, connectivity, and infrastructure of the developing world. And is also investing a lot in the industrialization of these countries.

On the other hand, US being the global economy its neighboring countries are poor, like Mexico. The opportunities in America have attracted many people from Mexico. To stop this vast amount of migration president Trump has spent 8 billion dollars to create a wall on the border.

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But the Chinese projects benefits the common man directly, it comes up with commercial project, generating revenues that rotate the cycle of the economy of Pakistan and other developing countries. China has started the flagship project CPEC under the BRI initiative, which is a win-win situation for both countries.

China is an all-weather friend of Pakistan, both countries are enthusiastic to work together for shared future.

Fourth Session: 27th November 2022

Topic: BRI and significance of Xinjiang as an ancient crossroad for regional connectivity

Keynote Speaker:

The keynote speaker of the fourth session of internship program was Iran Shah ad Takalvi, he is the head of Eurasian Century Institute and CEO of Policy Pak. The session was moderated by Noor Sultana Director Finance at Youth Diplomacy Forum.

Speakers of Panel Discussion

The panel discussion was moderated by Syed Shams UL Hassan, he is the emerging Sinologist and Researcher.

Following are the speakers who had given their insightful thoughts on the given topic,

  1. Azeem Khan
  2. Zameer Asadi
  3. Khizar Zaman
  4. Musawar Tanoli

Key points under Discussion:

Mr. Irfan talked about the BRI project of China and the importance of Xinjiang w.r.t regional connectivity. Xinjiang connects China to Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) aims to promote the connectivity Asia, Europe, and African Continent.

The BRI is a large-scale initiative to create two new trade routes that will link China to the rest of the globe. However, the initiative covers much more than just infrastructure.

It aims to enlarge China’s interconnected market, strengthen its political and economic influence, and foster the circumstances necessary for the country to develop a high-tech economy.

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CPEC is the flagship project of BRI, Xinjiang is the starting point of this (CPEC) project which links the region to the Gawadar Port, the shortest route for imports and exports. China has invested almost $62 million in CPEC.

The New Eurasia Land Bridged Economic Corridor links China with Europe via Kazakhstan.

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China-Central Asia-West Asia economic corridor which connects Xinjiang with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan passes through Russia.

Under BRI different projects have been started in these countries related to roads and rails.

Tajikistan 16 projects
Kazakhstan 14 projects
Kyrgyzstan 11 projects
Uzbekistan 5 projects
Turkmenistan 5 projects


  • The economic corridors of BRI.
  1. New Eurasia Land Bridge
  2. China, Mongolia, and Russia economic corridor
  3. China-Central Asia-West Asia economic corridor
  4. CPEC
  5. China, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar economic corridor
  • The major motivation of China behind the BRI project was their policy of openness which mostly began in the early 2000s under President Xi Jinping are
  1. Connectivity
  2. Sustainable development
  3. Energy and food security
  4. Improving efficiency

Fifth Session: 3rd December 2022

Topic: Pak-China Bilateral Relations, CPEC, SEZs, Industrial Cooperation as well as Trade and Investment

Keynote Speakers

The keynote speaker of the fifth session of internship program was Irfan Shahzad Takalvi, he is the head of Eurasian Century Institute and CEO of Policy Pak. The second speaker was Zamir Ahmad Awan, he is a Professor at NUST University, Sinologist, and his research is focused on China, especially CPEC.

Key points under Discussion

The speakers discussed bilateral relations in two segments the era before the CPEC project and after the agreements signed for the CPEC project in 2013. The major focus of the relations of the two states before CPEC was political and diplomatic. The was complete harmony on this subject. In the initial years of its independence, China was having very relations with the western world and Pakistan was acting as a communication channel between China and the west.

Pakistan was showcasing China’s interest to the rest of the world. China has never forgotten Pakistan’s support during those years. Both countries support each other at international forums as well, like United Nations.

On the issues like Palestine, Afghanistan, and Kashmir, China further uses its veto power to support Pakistan on the US and Indian propaganda for declaring Pakistan a default and terrorist state. Similarly, Pakistan supports China in the South China Sea dispute and Taiwan.

China was in dispute with all its neighboring counties but is trying to normalize its relations with them, Pakistan is the only neighbor of China with whom have never been in such disputes.

Irfan Shahzad Takalvi

In the early 2000s Gawadar project was started, and major projects like the oil refinery, infrastructure, and defense-oriented projects. But after 2013 the focus was on commercial activities and people-to-people contact means the relation extended from the government level to private sector as well.

But is not like that before CPEC there were no economic activity among the two states, the first trade agreement was signed in 1963 called Border Trade Agreement connecting Xinjiang to Pakistan. President Pervaiz Musharaf visited China in 2003 an agreement was signed ‘Chinese Invested Special Economic Zone’.

In 2005, ‘Framework for Comprehensive Energy and Economic Cooperation’ was signed. In the same year ‘Free Trade Agreement’ was signed but came into operation in 2007. In 1980s the two countries focus on energy cooperation especially nuclear energy cooperation different nuclear plants were established in Pakistan like in Chashma near Mianwali.

There is economic cooperation at different institutions as well like WHO, ADB, and many others.

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But CPEC turned out to be one of the only projects of such cooperation. China is the largest foreign investor in Pakistan and for the last 8-10 years 30-50% of total FDI is coming from China. There are nine SEZs signed under CPEC, negotiations are underway for 2 more zones.

The trade between Pakistan and China is about $20 bn. And 3% is contributed by Pakistan and 17% by China. The export level is asymmetric.

Sixth Session: 4th December 2022

Topic: Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative

Keynote Speaker

The keynote speaker of the sixth session of the internship program was Dr. Tahir Mumtaz Awan, he is the Director Area Studies of COMSATS University Islamabad.

Key Points under Discussion

The speaker talked about China President Xi’s speech at United Nations General Assembly 2021. Xi talked about: Revitalize the economy, Strength solidarity, Global government, Multilateralism, Global development, Strengthening Policy, Partnership, Equality, Protection and promotion of Human Rights, Benefit for all, Aid to developing countries, Innovation, Technology revolution, Equitable, and balanced distribution, Harmony (between man and nature), and $12 trillion Trade BRI.

Result oriented action:

 The Poverty alleviation, food security, climate change (green development), Industrialization and digital economy etc.

 Manufacturing of China (products)

 Philippines, Vietnam and USA

 Automobile company (Pakistani Foothills)

 Digital Yuan

 Connectivity

 Telecommunication

 Global security initiative (April 2022)


 Speech of Xi Jingping

Rising Challenges to Shared Future:

 Sustainable security (region and global)

 Territorial integrity of all countries

 Respect of the UN Charter for all

 Resolution of disputes

 Maintaining security (traditional and non-traditional)

 Up-holding the indivisible security

Five principles of coexistence

 Mutual respect for territorial integrity

 Mutual non-aggression

 Mutual non-interference in internal affairs

 Equality and cooperation for all plus peaceful co-existence

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7th session: 10th December 2022

Topic: China’s Development Model and Lessons for Pakistan towards Economic Stability 

Keynote Speaker:

The keynote speaker of the seventh session of the internship program was Dr. Tatheer Zehra Sherazi, she is an assistant professor at the department of International Relations, NUML

Key points under Discussion

China’s economic model was the main agenda, how it has changed from low key profile to maximize its potential capabilities. Latest Chinese economic model is the capitalist model. It is the second-largest economy in the world, with the largest imports and export. There is ten percent increase in its GDP every year.

China’s economic cluster is about its conceptual framework. Its economy is based on four types of economies.

Traditional economy

Beginning of industrialization

Communist economy

Market transition post

Initially, there were four SEZs in China with a focus on economic expansion. The major economic expansion is its CPEC project, its economy is majorly export based. Through rapid industrialization China has set an example for rising economies on how to transfer, design, and develop economic zones.

The 4 economic zones led by China in Pakistan employed only 35000 local workforces with a contribution of 3% in the entire exports of the country by 2017. There is a lot more for Pakistan to learn from China to boost its economy. Some general rudiments for success are synchronized policy, skilled labor production, good infrastructure, trade logistics and facilitation.

So to conclude the entire discussion the speaker called Pakistan the graveyard of SEZs, in order to utilize and make them operational there is a need to take concrete measures for the purpose there is a need to fully study the existing institutions, to identify the reasons of problems, and to make policy guidelines.

China’s economic profile:

The Second largest economy with 14.72 million USD, largest exporter of goods since 2009, second largest importer and GDP boom has averaged almost 10 % a year. More than 850 million people are lifted out of poverty.

Economic Clusters:

An economic cluster is mostly the concentration of particular kind of business in a geographic proximity well interconnected with other businesses, suppliers and relevant bodies. Economic clusters are consisted of two or more cities as the center that business along with few neighboring cities connected through a web of transportation.

Primarily clusters are formed by accumulation of small, Medium sized Enterprises along with large enterprises. SMEs are the most suitable due to their labour intensive nature, for the economic growth of developing states for having low population density and labor ratios.

Few special incentives were given to the Special Economic Zones like special tax incentives for foreign investments in the SEZs. Greater interdependence from the central government on international trade activities even they were allowed to make direct agreements with the foreign investors. Via the rapid industrialization, China has set an example for the rising economies how to transform, design and develop the economic zones.

Expansion of Economic Clusters:

The importance of specific economic clusters was acknowledged in 1985 when the status of SEZs was expanded to the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl, and the Xiamen-Zhangzhou-Quanzhou Triangle (Min River Delta)

This triggered the development of modern port infrastructure particularly container ports which were essential to support an export-oriented strategy. This also provided additional space for the setting of industrial districts.

Economic performance of SEZs:

Economic Zones in Pakistan were established during 1960s and later in 1980s in Karachi and by the 2005 Pakistan had seven functional economic zones while total around 83. According to a study even after 40 years, the contribution of these zones in growing employment and generating exports has been Minimum.

The zones employed only 35000 local workforces and contributed 3 % of the entire exports of the country by 2017. While in contrast to Pakistan, in Bangladesh; 8 Zones attracted 412 firms and engaged 350,000 people along with investment of $2.6 billion.

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General Rudiments for Success:

Synchronized policy:

Coordinating SEZ policy with the broader development schedule enable to keep SEZ linkages with the rest of the economy and ensure SEZ achievements.

Labor supply:

Maintaining workers requires improving working conditions, supplying soft skills training and instituting effective human resources and supervision structures.


Extensive investments in physical infrastructure consisting of housing, roads, ports, power and telecom stations are essential for a success of SEZs.

Trade, Logistics and Facilitation:

Efficient processes that facilitate trade are important for the SEZ’s Success.

Socio-Economic Objectives:

  • Employment
  • Poverty Eradication
  • Connectivity
  • Preparedness

China is phenomenal in managing its city cluster policy which can provide a base to Pakistan to initiate its enriching plans. It is very clear to understand Chinese economic phases via following ways

  1. Success and productivity of indigenous Model
  2. Failure of the borrowed model of Industrialization

Pakistan should adopt an indigenous model of industrialization via following ways

  1. Attracting and utilizing foreign capital
  2. Economic activities must be driven by market forces
  3. Joint ventures and partnerships
  4. Products should be primarily export-oriented

8th Session: 11th December 2022

Topic: Recommendations and suggestions for sustainable progress of our region specifically Pakistan

Main Points under Discussion

The speakers focus on Pakistan’s cooperation with the international organizations in achieving the UN 2030 agenda of SDGs.

What can be done for the sustainable progress?

  • Use of modern technology
  • Improve the education system by making collaboration with other organization (Arab China Summit)
  • Pragmatic approach
  • Uplifting government institution
  • Focus on industrialization
  • Free trade area
  • Special economic zones
  • Electric vehicles
  • Green revolution

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Major threats to Pakistan

  • Global warming
  • Climate change
  • Flooding

CPEC was also one of the main agendas under discussion. The first phase is about the technology transfer from China to Pakistan, coal production, and energy projects in Pakistan. Phase 2 of is about the lithium battery production in Pakistan.

As this was the last session of the jointly organized one month online internship program, both sides the Youth Diplomacy Forum and Ex-Chinese Association showed a willingness to cooperate in future events and also to collaborate with China Study Centre COMSATS, Islamabad.

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