Latest: CPEC is a cross-party consensus project. For those spreading rumours, Chinese Embassy will continue to take them on: Muhammad Lijian Zhao

Is it everyday that you see respected and trusted English-language daily newspapers publishing false news reports? Not really. May be an occasional slip, yes. But not one after the other. That too about a project as big as $46 billion CPEC where two governments are involved. And the other government is all we have in times of increasing international isolation.

In an unusual and immediate rebuttal of three news reports about Chinese investments in Pakistan published in succession in Pakistani daily newspapers, Express Tribune andThe Nation, a Chinese Embassy official calls these false.

Leveraging social media for CPEC & OBOR: A keynote by Wali at a CPEC seminar

On his Twitter timeline, Lijian Zhao, Deputy Chief of Mission at Chinese Embassy Islamabad, promptly takes on the falsehood being spread about CPEC and related projects.


The first report appeared in Express Tribune on 3 November headlined: ‘China willing to finance Pakistan’s portion of IP pipeline’ by a reporter named Zafar Bhutta. Lijian Zhao got back with this:

Zhao: I checked with the concerned Chinese company, and was told this is a false story. Pls check before reporting.

Related: Is Whatsapp your source of info? Welcome to Project Ignorance


The second report had appeared in Express Tribune on 21 October headlined: ‘In revised offer, China wants to work as construction contractor in Gwadar’ by the same reporter Zafar Bhutta. Lijian Zhao got back with this:

Zhao: I checked with Chinese company. False report. This is same reporter which misled us on China joining IP pipeline.


The third report appeared in The Nation on 5 November headlined: ‘Chinese consortium to launch new airline in Pakistan’ by the staff reporter. Lijian Zhao got back with this:

Zhao: Again this is not true. The Chinese company explored possibility of flight between Hong Kong & Pakistan. That’s it.

Have you seen CPEC & OBOR stories on this blog?

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: A timeline

16 CPEC projects in Balochistan, 8 in KPK: Chinese Embassy

Chinese Embassy shares progress on CPEC projects

Chinese Embassy clarifies about Port Qasim Coal-fired Power Project

40 CPEC projects in 4 photos & 60 seconds

CPEC gets 4-layer security as Gwadar to be weapon-free

And it’s not just factually false news that Lijian Zhao takes a dig at, he also promptly rebuts the political propaganda.


Responding to a tweet by apparently a fake Twitter account of some Rehan, with display photo of ISI DG Lt-General Rizwan, saying: ‘but to be honest it’s not China-Pakistan Economic Corridor; it’s China-Punjab Economic Corridor, Lijian Zhao tweets:

And this one:

It’s not the first time that Chinese Embassy or its officials have dispelled false information about CPEC project.

On 31 December and 5 October, it issued official press releases about CPEC’s western route negating the KPK Chief Minister Pervez Khattak. The Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong also met PTI chairman Imran Khan on 18 October to seek his assurance on CPEC.

23 Nov: On the news report that Chinese embassy refuses visas to KP ministers, bureaucrats, Zhao hits back.

25 Nov: Zhao hits back at a journalist

2 January 2017: Zhao hits back at another journalist

More about China:

China’s world-reshaping $225B One Belt, One Road (OBOR)

The World Bank, meet your challenger: China-led AIIB

BRICS New Development Bank to increase lending to $2.5B next year

How China overtakes the US economy

How China is viewed by Pakistan & the world

With a parade, China announces itself as the next superpower: TIME

Xi Jinping: most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong

Africa: Nigeria largest economy, China largest single trading partner

On a lighter note:

Sometimes, the Chinese Embassy may not feel the need to issue a press release. Like this:

Through his series of tweets on several occasions, Lijian Zhao had fought the impression that CPEC only favoured Punjab.

Last month, he listed the number of projects in each province. This blog broke the story which was later carried by APP, Geo, ARY, Samaa and everyone else.

Lijian Zhao also routinely shares progress of CEPC projects on his Twitter timeline.

Do not miss our Understanding Pakistan Series

Back to the future: Pakistan in 2050

Wali on Pakistan of future

A miracle: Pakistan score in Long Term Orientation goes from Zero to 50

Pakistani culture through 6-D Model

Native languages in Pakistan

How future oriented are we?

How we messed up Pakistan: A series by Wali

Pakistan’s two value crimes no one talks about

Is Whatsapp your source of info? Welcome to Project Ignorance

As a China watcher for nearly 30 years, Wali’s comment:

Make no mistake: China is no USA.

The hyper-speed with which China is reshaping the world through its $225-billion OBOR Initiative and soon-to-be 90-member $100-billion AIIB and extending its trade and influence to all parts of Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Africa is unprecedented. This vision requires that no roadblocks come in China’s way. It’s as simple.

And China knows how to play hardball. With each stakeholder in each country.