Zhou Rong interviewed by China Economic Net on Chinese development


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Zhou Rong interviewed by China Economic Net on Chinese development


Source: ce.cn    Published: 2019-4-13

Editor's notes: On April 12, Zhou Rong, senior fellow of RDCY join the program The Belt and Road: Face to Face, which was co-produced by by China Economic Net and VSH News Television, and discussed the hot issues regarding the development of China. The following is the full text of the discussion.

Moderator: Hello everyone! Welcome to The Belt and Road: Face to Face. Our program is co-produced by China Economic Net and VSH News Television. I am Wang Xiaotong from China Economic Net. Today I’m pleased to be joined in our studio by Aman Ullah Khan, Managing Director at Global Care, and Zhou Rong, Senior Research Fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies of Renmin University of China. Welcome! Let’s enter the first part: Hot Spot.

The Economic Summit of China Development Forum 2019, hosted by the Development Research Centre of the State Council, was held in Beijing on March 23. "China's opening-up", "world economy", "China-US relations", "private enterprises", 5G, AI, etc. have become the most mentioned words by guests. Li Yang, Chairman of National Institution for Finance & Development, Former Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), also pointed out that de-globalization is a definite fact. The Belt and Road initiative is committed to promoting industrial cooperation of participating countries, meeting the most basic needs of the working masses, and helping to reduce domestic poverty. What successful practices in China can be shared? Mr. Zhou.

Zhou: We can say the Belt and Road initiative and the Belt and Road international cooperation have contributed greatly to the reduction of poverty of the concerned region and concerned people. If we want to be rich, then build road first. This is also Chinese experience. I think a couple of weeks ago I accompanied our Pakistani friend to go to Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. I asked people how to get rich. So, the officials told me that usually poverty alleviation officials go to the countryside, ask our farmers where they face some poverty challenge and what is their problem and also tell them how to be rich and also track their behavior, track their action until they become really rich. Tell them the way, and also tell them how to do and also following that you see a lot of officials just trace their way and also tell them how to adjust the way. So, this is a very good example for all the Belt and Road countries to follow and a lot of people we all know, a lot of countries strive to achieve the poverty reduction. They can come to China to learn the example for that.

Khan: China pledged billions of dollars for the infrastructure development among the participating countries. And this was only the first phase. In the second phase China plans for industrialization and to set up industrial zones and as my friend said actually to bring people out of poverty. Once this industrialization starts to take place, I think more jobs will be created and definitely once more jobs will be created, the poverty level will go down and it will be you know a win-win position for all the participating countries. And you can see a lot of new highways, new roads, new railway lines and all these infrastructure projects are taking place. And once you know all these complete, then second phase of industrialization will start and that will be a real change when we can see and for this purpose not only China is investing billions of dollars, actually China is more open to the world and he wants to share his experience, he wants to share the latest technology, wants to transfer the technology, he wants to train unskilled people of these countries and to get them to be in work and he wants to provide workshops for entrepreneurs and all these kinds of things. I think this is China's initiative, the peace in the region, because you know half of the population lives in this region. So if this cooperation goes on, definitely poverty will go down and it will be good for the entire world.

Moderator: And actually, the Belt and Road region is also an important metallogenic belt in the world. Let’s take Pakistan’s Saindak Copper Gold Project as an example. This project has created more than $3 billion profits and more than 3,000 jobs for the local people. It is called a model of China-Pakistan economic cooperation. But there are also other voices that this will cause the loss of resources in Pakistan. How should we regard the mining cooperation between China and Pakistan? Mr. Khan.

Khan: Well, as you said in your intro, Pakistan and all these regional countries, they are rich in minerals and all you know, the central Asian republic countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, they have gold, copper and other expensive metals. Pakistan and China, they are cooperating in every sector. It's not just the CPEC actually. The cooperation goes back to like in 1970s, you know Pakistan and China started joint projects. And this as you said about Saindak Copper Gold Project, metallurgical cooperation of China and Saindak Metal Corporation. They are in the joint venture. They are running this mine and in 2002, they signed this contract and as you said the 3,000 jobs created, actually China was supposed to invest in the infrastructure to provide jobs for the locals and the profit will be shared among them fifty fifty. Regarding apprehensions, I don’t think there are serious apprehensions. There are some apprehensions from the political side. They want some transparency in the contract and the mechanism about the sharing of profit, they have some objection. But overall, it's quite satisfaction. Recently I was reading some article in which this vice chairman or vice general manager said this is a good example for China Pakistan like Saindak cooperation since 2002 they are working on it and it is in the most underdeveloped area of Balochistan, the Chagai District near Iran’s border. And let me add there is another big project which is I think world's biggest gold and copper mine - Reko Diq, which is in the same region and China and some other friendly countries they are very keen to develop that mine. So, I think China-Pakistan cooperation in future will continue and especially in the mining sector and it will be beneficial for the local people and for both the governments.

Zhou: I was very lucky that I have been to Saindak four times so let me illustrate the situation over there. I think the community, the Baloch community, the relationship between our Chinese project and Baloch community are just like water and fish. Very harmonious. Let me tell you before the Chinese came to Saindak, the people who live there, their life was very poor and very backward. After Chinese came here, the first they began to drink purified water rather than dirty water. Some years ago, some of the facility was broken. Temporarily, people have to drink some dirty water again and they had protest. They had we should drink the clean water by the Chinese purified system. We said you see because we were just doing preparation please just tolerate for one or two hours, not one or two days, but the local people said we have already got used to all the clean water, we have drunk that. This is number one thing. A second because of Saindak, the local business for the food, for the commodity, business and market, you see booming very quickly and not only that, but also the tribal people who has a special feeling towards China. They say one thing if any terrorist organization or terrorist individual comes, as you see, we don't have to ask military to help because we are trans countries, trans national tribe. So, we have some soldiers in Afghanistan, in Iran and in Pakistan’s Saindak, you see, so I can just lead all our tribal soldiers go across the border to fight against the terrorist. This is the second thing. Of course, China imports a lot of copper from Saindak. It is true. But on the other hand, before China came, nobody just even mind that. So that is the copper should be value when it is used. So, for this case, there's a lot of rumor, even you can say that somebody asks the question whether the future Gwadar will belong to China or Pakistan. That's a stupid question. You see asking like that. So that kind of rumor cannot stop the CPEC, cannot stop China Pakistan the economic cooperation and development.

Moderator: Now let's get to the VSH studio to see what they are concerned about.

Khan: First of all was the security. So now you can see the area is clean from the terrorist hideouts and security is now everybody's appreciating this peaceful environment in this region. And once these American forces leave Afghanistan, there will be more peace in the region and that will bring more investment and more I mean, foreign entrepreneurs will turn up to Pakistan or Afghanistan. So, I think Pakistan needs, every department needs a massive investment and new technology and a lot of job creation because we have unemployment rate, officially it's around six percent, but I don't think it is six percent unemployment. It's more than ten percent unemployed in Pakistan. So, we need a massive investment and lots of industrialization to keep up with the pace.

Zhou: Every department needs to be improved. But I think the important thing is education. It's training from kindergarten. Because for us, for Xinjiang radicalization, why it is right now de-radicalization process goes on very smoothly. Right now, it's very popular that Chinese language, Chinese national language is very popular from kindergarten. So that is to say, first (is) language education. So, let everybody speak Urdu language. That is now the goal. Only eighty percent speak roughly Urdu language, some Sindhi people don't speak Urdu. For Sindhi, Pashto people, especially in Peshawar, a lot of people especially sellers and marketers they don't speak Urdu, they speak Pashto and also Balochistan, they speak Brahvi and Balochi and also in South Punjab, they speak Seraiki language. A lot of things you see. So, it should be unified, no Urdu no good job. So, this is something like that. The second is from the education, there should be very strict standard. If he cannot pass examination, he should just learn again. Let people (be) aware of, have the sense, awareness, the people have the sense, have the awareness that everybody should learn science and technology. Everybody should think about development.

Moderator: Let's move on to the second part – Figure.

Moderator: You are watching The Belt and Road: Face to Face. Let’s enter the second part: Figure.

"Some people say that AI is a more profound revolution than the industrial revolution. Others say that AI is a concept bigger than the Internet. Some people even say that AI is the only possible technology invented by humans that can in turn engulf humans. Li Kaifu, chairman and CEO of Innovation Works, said research shows that artificial intelligence will create a value of 100 trillion yuan in the next 11 years. In the past, investors have achieved 10 times, even 100 times return through relevant investments. But will there be 100, even 1,000 artificial intelligence unicorns in the future? He believes that the answer is absolutely negative. What kind of changes will AI bring in the future and what expectations and troubles will be brought by AI?

Khan: Artificial intelligence and big data are the talk of the tongue. Everybody is talking about big data and artificial intelligence. I think really it will be a game changer, because a lot of things actually are under research and we can see in the coming years, maybe in three four years, still we can see like in big cities and urbanization like if we take example of China. China, I think they have more than twenty-five million population in Beijing. So, Beijing is controlled by you know the surveillance of Beijing if you see, it's the safest city in the world. Beijing is known as the safest city because of the surveillance, and you know they have a real time surveillance cameras because of the artificial intelligence, so you can track a person right from, start from his home and everything is interconnected and look at the Beijing traffic, you know they have I think more than six million cars on the road, although they have the best transport system like they have subways, they have taxis, they have private cars, they have buses, but look at the traffic and they have a lot of this overhead flyovers, but still there are a lot of traffic lights. So artificial intelligence you know the traffic lights you can control the traffic, and not only this you know in agriculture, in education and health care, everywhere you can change the entire scenario.

Zhou: For our common life, I think our friend Mr. Khan mentioned one thing, we can avoid some transportation, traffic accidents more easily, because since we have the AI car in the future, AI car has an electronic instrument which can easily figure out where the danger is. We can avoid danger very easily. And also, right now we have lots of nurses in the hospital, in the future we do not need a lot of nurses, we need to have AI as our nurses, they can help the elder people and the sick people. And not only that, but also some of the Chinese friends like you as the TV anchors, they told me that she has never learned to cook before, but right now she said everything is easy because with illustration on the AI, then the AI can cook a lot of things very conveniently.

Moderator: Pakistan plans to invest $3.3 million in three years for artificial intelligence. Compared with the use of artificial intelligence in other countries, Pakistan wants to solve its fiscal deficit problem to enhance its industrial sector, war and surveillance capabilities. So, we can conclude that Pakistan's application priority for AI lies in the field of heavy industry and national security. It is a bit like Pakistan's use of nuclear technology. Will the strategy change in the short term? Mr. Khan?

Khan: Pakistan basically is I mean quite advanced in the information technology, and we are among the few countries exporting software to the world. We have the best banking solutions, we have the airline solution, so, we are not new in this field, but we want to get the more benefits of this in artificial intelligence, like, we want to use in agriculture, because we are still using this traditional way of farming, so we want to use them, the modernized farming, the sprinklers, the timing. So obviously it will reduce the cost. And similarly, like our big cities they are expanding so we need a security for these big cities, the surveillant cameras as I mentioned earlier for the traffic control, so we need this artificial intelligence, and I think it will boost the economy as well, because we are also focusing on tourism. So, once we provide the security and we provide the world class infrastructure for that purpose, I think we need more inclined towards this artificial intelligence.

Moderator: Now let's get to the VSH studio to see what they are concerned about.

Khan: Well, when we talk about south Asia, not only Pakistan, even Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, they have all really tremendous talented people and they are very good in IT. You can see all these call centers are based in Indian cities, because of the cheap labor and because of the English language understanding. So, Pakistan as I said, exports this software to many countries. I think this region has a great potential for this information technology, because we are most smart people and not only the smart people, we have street smart people as well, there are disadvantages as well, like hacking and everything which is unethical, that has also been done from this region. So, there are advantages and disadvantages both.

Zhou: On the regard of the standardization, even China, compared with Pakistan, we still have some gap, you see, they are much better than us. I really think so, I mean especially academic standardization, they are much better.

Khan: That's why you know Pakistani and Chinese engineers and researchers, they are working… why China is offering so many scholarships to Pakistani PhDs and highly skilled technicians, because they jointly work and they can learn from each other's experience, because China has more resources and we have more talented people. So, when we work together, I think it will be a win-win situation for both the countries.

Moderator: Let's move on to the third part - Culture.

You are watching The Belt and Road: Face to Face. We are entering the third part: Culture.

Recently, a Chinese Dance “Li Ren Xing” has become a hit on the Internet. Let's watch a short video.

"Chinese Dance" can refer to Chinese classical dance and Chinese folk dance. It is a characteristic dance of Chinese classical style with certain exemplary meaning. The gesture training of Chinese classical dance fully reflects the distinctive characteristics of the Chinese nation. In the basic training, it combines the ballet training system, the techniques of the opera martial arts, and the uniqueness of the national characteristics. The performance skill and style are very different from those of other dances.

Moderator: What kind of Chinese dances do you like the most, Mr. Khan?

Khan: Chinese traditional cultural dances I like the most, and it's very fascinating, you know, every evening when I go out for a walk, I can see a lot of people from all walks of life, you know, they put music and they dance, and it's amazing. Sometimes I also try to step in, but it's really difficult, because of the Chinese traditional dance and it’s really fascinating.

Zhou: In Pakistan, there are a lot of folk dances. But because of the Pakistan's own traditional custom, women are not encouraged to dance so often, especially in the public, at home you can dance. Especially (in) some area, some women are encouraged to veil, cover their face and even cover their eyes with veil, because of that reason, dances in Pakistan are not very popular for female, but for male it's very popular.

Khan: There are special occasions especially on the wedding, we perform dances and the second most important occasion is the winning of election or winning a cricket match. So, these are the two main occasions where people start dancing and enjoy. We are more inclined now towards the … (not clear) dancing. We have traditional dancing, the classical dancing, but now there are like ten or twelve forms of dancing, you know, so people have access to like hip-hop, like Michael Jackson style, the break dancing, like tap dancing. So, but the most popular are the traditional dances, like we have four provinces and all four provinces have their own style of dancing. So those dances are more popular.

Moderator: Compared with Chinese classical dance, Pakistan Khattak and Leva dances are more like Uyghur dance of Xinjiang. Similarly, the musical instruments are important part of the dance. Now the Uyghur dance is becoming more and more modern to cater to the youth, will the dance of Pakistan change in the same way?

Khan: I think because the region is same, so, mostly the instruments are similar in nature, the music is more or less same. And as my friend said in this both regions, the men dances are famous because women are not supposed to dance in front of people or in public. So, like you talk about the Leva dance, Leva dance is basically a Balochi dance, and it's traditionally comes from Africa, if you see the movements, its hand movement, the neck movement and it's so fascinating, and for the onlookers it's so entertaining, and it is performed to the drum beat. So, Leva dance I think if you see in the original form, it's more fascinating, and like the modern dancing, so I think the modern dances are more inclined towards hip-hop and break dance and this tap dancing, they are contemporary dancing. But in Pakistan the traditional dances are still very famous.

Moderator: Yes, Uyghur dance has become modern in the forms but the essence hasn't changed.

Zhou: Yes, as my friend Mr. Khan mentioned, the musical instruments are very similar. That's really true. But Uyghur dances absorb more styles from the Central Asian Republic rather than from Pakistan, this is number one. And also, when I watch the dances, I think Pakistan dances are more sophisticated, because their movements are small and something more about the fingers. But Uyghur dances I think big arm movements and big leg movements, they are different. The more you watch, the more you can see the differences. And especially female, Pakistani female do not like to do the very big movement, but the Uyghur, vice versa, just different.

Moderator: Now let's get to the VSH studio to see what they are concerned about.

Zhou: Well, let's see to say this can combination, first, people do not know so much things about this dancing. We should just watch the certain kind of video, I mean cultural academy, cultural scholars should just watch that to do the comparison and to see the similarity and the difference among each Belt and Road country. Then we do the comparison, we can just make it into the video, oh, that is from Turkey to Pakistan and from west Turkey to east Turkey, from west Iran to east Iran, to Afghanistan, to Pakistan, to India, the evolution of different dances. People do not do that. I like to see something like that, especially when we see the model competition, somebody come from Bulgaria, some come from England, they stay together and the outlook are different, we do not like to, necessary to say which figures are good or not, we can say which dances reflect their own local original culture and history. This is very important. So, I suppose CE.cn or maybe some cultural organization can do this kind of job, whenever you have some business trip to Pakistan, to Iran, to Turkey, just to, what we say, to video more something about their dances and of course including central Asia, dances will be different.

Khan: It depends on people-to-people mood, you know like Punjabi Bhangra is very famous not only in Indo Pak, it is just very famous in the western world as well, because the drumbeat is so fascinating, you cannot control yourself and you start shake your body, so, it depends you know what attracts you, like original dances and all these things. And to get it more popular, I think this VSH Television and like China Economic Net, because they are collaborating, and they are working together, they should have this culture programs, and they should show each other provinces like their culture, their costumes and dances, so people will come to know what kind of dance which country, which region is reflected.

Moderator: Thank you for watching The Belt and Road: Face to Face, and thank you two for coming to our show today. See you next time.

Zhou Rong is a senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.