How was it possible for China to achieve miraculous developments?

China is trying to repave the road to development by emphasizing commercial ventures instead of handouts. Zamir Ahmed Awan, an ex-diplomat talks about China's economic miracle, and the country's new development philosophy and how China can help Pakistan in reviving its economy.

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To develop a country, many things are required, but the most important are: Capital, Technology, and Human resources. Pakistan is severely facing the front of Capital, a country under heavy debt that cannot afford to borrow more. Furthermore, after the Abbottabad incident on 02 May 2011, Pakistan was punished, and international financial institutes (IFIs) got hard on Pakistan and getting a further loan was very tough.

On the issue of technology, Pakistan is OK as concerned with the low and medium type of technology. Still, for developments, it requires cutting edge, modern, advanced technologies, which is lacking in Pakistan. Unfortunately, our educational system became a victim of dirty politics and could not meet the technologies required for further developments.

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Regarding human resources, the Pakistani educational system is still based on the British colonial era, where sub-servants are produced, yet Pakistan could not produce the high-quality Human Resource required for the development. Definitely, many other factors are also crucial like law and order situation, tax system, transparency, judicial system, policies, politics, and stability of the Government. But we will focus on the three points as mentioned earlier only.

The beginning of China’s evolution

Let’s examine the Chinese development experience first. When China introduced reforms and opening-up policies in 1978, the ground situation in China was not suitable for developments in respect of three points mentioned above: Capital, Technology, and Human resources. China was quite poor, with almost 88% of the poverty rate.  The severe shortage of Capital, mainly the foreign exchange. Technology was backward and outdated. High-quality Human resource was virtually unavailable, just passing through 10 years of Cultural Revolution when all universities were closed for a decade long. Yet China developed rapidly at a miraculously.

It was the visionary leader who made the impossible possible. It was the state policies that provided enabling environments to develop quickly. The sincerity of the leaders led the public to work hard and transform China from a poor and backward country into a global power. Of course, many other factors were also important in the development of China. But the most important were visionary eade5rship and sincerity with the country. When there is a will, there is a way. China determined to develop, and they sorted out all ways and means to achieve their ultimate goal.

Was it a smooth journey: No! It was full of challenges, hurdles, resistance, and problems. Still, one thing was constant, China must develop, and the whole nation struggled under the visionary and honest leadership to achieve this goal. Salute to the great leadership and brave nation, who overcame all difficulties and achieve their dreams.

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One of the first Special Economic Zones (SEZs) was Shenzhen, a fisherman village has been transformed one of the most modern, city in the world. The capitalist system does not differentiate among friends and foes but cares only for gains, and investors are only concerned about how quickly they can turn their Capital into manifolds. Chinese able leadership understood this psyche and introduced policies that ensured the interests of investors.

How has China attracted foreign investors?

The Foreign investors brought Capital, solved the Chinese issue of lacking Capital, especially the foreign investors brought foreign exchange, which was much need by China. Whenever an investor invests in a foreign country, always bring in the best available technology, and this was the way how China got modern and advanced technologies.

Not only modern technologies but also modern management skills, marketing skills, etc. The foreign investors also solved the issue of high-quality human resources. Foreign investors utilized the local workforce as much as possible to cut down the cost of production and maximize profits. However, they also brought highly skilled, trained experts and simultaneously trained the local workforce. It was their interest to train the local workforce and save money being paid to foreign experts.

Gradually, China opened more SEZs, and ultimately the whole country. The visionary leadership kept close eyes on each stage of development and instantly modifying the policies if required. Having problems was natural, but the strong will and able leadership were there to resolve the issues and move forward. They accepted all the challenges and overcame all obstacles. They have not surrendered but consistently moving forward till they achieved the desired goals. It is not important how many mistakes they have made during this course; the important is that they achieved what they designed to achieve. Nobody remembers who made which mistake, but everyone admires the achievement.

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I am sharing the Chinese experience with policymakers and decision-makers in Pakistan if they are sincere with the nation and willing to transform Pakistan into a prosperous country. It might be proved helpful for them. Of course, it is not possible to share every aspect of Chinese developments in just one short article.

Pak-China’s friendship 

There are many real China experts in Pakistan but are not involved in policymaking and decision-making. Those who have studied in China, know the Chinese language, understand Chinese culture, politics, system, and politics,  are the right people to replicate the Chinese development experience in Pakistan. Fortunately, there are roughly 20,000 China graduates in Pakistan available, and around 30,000 are still studying in Chinese universities in China.

Almost every year, roughly 5000 Pakistani youths are graduating from China and returning to Pakistan. They are our assets. They are real China experts and must be utilized in CPEC related projects. These China graduates are in various fields like all engineering specializations, social sciences, economy, management, natural sciences, etc. You name it; you will find a suitable China graduate. Some of them are experienced and graduated almost four decades ago, and of course, the recent graduates are more. The variation of experience of China graduates is 0 ~ 40 years and can meet various requirements.

Read more: Pak-China friendship: Could it get any better?

I am not in the habit of cribbing and always avoid criticizing others, especially the personalities, but I must point out, if irrelevant people, having no understanding of China, make any decision regarding CPEC may not be optimum. Without involving China graduates, the CPEC will remain as it is today. To maximize the benefits of CPEC, it is necessary that China experts and China graduates are involved and consulted on all important issues regarding CPEC.

The author is a Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. He can be reached at The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space. 


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