How are Attitudes towards China formed in Pakistan? Analysis of Beijing’s Public Diplomacy in the Context of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Principal Investigator:
Zahid Shahab Ahmed, CPD Research Fellow 2017-19

Contributing Researchers:
Max Hill
Ketaki Sharma
Zeyu Ping
Silada 'Lydia' Rojratanakiat

The purpose of this project is to understand the various dimensions of China’s unprecedented public diplomacy in Pakistan, which has gained new momentum since the commencement of Beijing’s US $62 billion investment in Pakistan under the ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).’

As one of the fastest growing economies, China has come up with an ambitious plan ‘Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)’ to expand the reach of its connectivity via land and sea routes for access to markets across Asia, Europe, and Africa. With China’s public diplomacy intensifying since the start of the BRI, this project is crucial to understanding how this strategy’s various dimensions are at play in one of the key countries in BRI – Pakistan. With increasing concerns from the global north and south on the BRI, research on China’s public diplomacy can help foster understanding of the overwhelmingly positive perceptions of China and its investment in stakeholder countries.

Data will be collected as per the chosen definition of public diplomacy to understand various dimensions of the Chinese public diplomacy initiatives in Pakistan. The project will be limited to sources available in Pakistan, such as local think tank and media reports on CPEC and China. Other than the discourse analysis covering the period since the start of CPEC in April 2013 to January 2018, interviews will be conducted with individuals belonging to think tanks, academia, newspapers and TV channels in Pakistan. 

Read Ahmed's CPD Perspectives article, "The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in Social Media: A Critical Discourse Analysis" here.

Image via iStock.

Image via iStock