The National Pulse
IPRI

EXCLUSIVE: How A Pakistani Think Tank Launders CCP Propaganda For Western Audiences

exclusive

The National Pulse has uncovered a Chinese Communist Party-affiliated think tank – the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) – whose analysts frequently peddle Beijing’s talking points in CCP-run media outlets while presenting themselves as “independent” for Western audiences.

The credentials advertised to English-speaking audience by these state outlets are sometimes totally fake.

A recent National Pulse exposé into “security analyst” Hannan Hussain exposed the China Global Television Network (CGTN) contributor’s fraudulent credentials from the London School of Economics South Asia Centre.

After the revelation, CGTN – a registered foreign agent in the United States – edited Hussain’s bio on their website. It now reads: “Hannan Hussain is an Assistant Researcher at the Islamabad Policy Research Institute, and an author. He is also an international affairs commentator for The Diplomat, a leading foreign policy magazine based in Washington.”

Hussain’s corrected byline exposed the Pakistani think-tank affiliation. In other words, commentators attempting – at an industrial scale – to influence U.S. foreign policy.

A fellow CGTN contributor – Hamzah Hussain – is also employed by the think tank as an assistant researcher, publishing CCP puff pieces including “the irony of Trump’s campaign promise” and “why Washington cautioning the Gulf lacks merit or credibility.”

IPRI lists “affiliation” with seven, mostly-CCP controlled, China-based entities on its website, regularly publishing articles advocating the entrenchment of China into all sectors of Pakistan’s economy and schools.

The think tank’s leadership board, composed of current and former Pakistani government officials, also routinely endorses China’s gradual but persistent attempts to shepherd the country’s livelihood – not viewing Pakistan as a partner but instead as a colonial vassal.

IPRI board member Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry says: “The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is for the good and welfare of the people of Pakistan, the people of western China and, in fact, the people of the whole region. Many countries, including those in Central Asia, as well as those in our neighborhood, will benefit from this.

Striking a similar tone, Ambassador Fauzia Nasreen Head – also on IPRI’s board – believes “China is Pakistan’s strategic and “all weather” friend and partner.”

After receiving personal protective equipment donations from China, IPRI board member Senator Anwar ul Haq Kakar lauded China and Pakistan’s “friendship”. The PPE donation assisted Beijing’s broader “mask diplomacy” efforts where the country demanded public displays of praise and gratitude.

This sycophancy predates coronavirus.

IPRI frequently publishes reports highlighting the two countries’ “shared destiny,” depicting America as a “challenge to China’s peaceful rise,” and encourages a decoupling from the US: “Pakistan must rethink about its partnership with US. […] Fortunately, China is our immediate neighbor and long lasting friend and by improving our strategic partnership with China we can achieve better national, regional and global interests as compared to US.”

The China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) – a subsidiary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China – is one such Islamabad Policy Research Institute partner.

The Islamabad Policy Research Institute similarly associates with China Arms Control and Disarmament Association (CACDA) — founded by CCP Standing Committee member, Li Daoyu —  and with China’s ‘Belt and Road Research Institute for International Cooperation and Development’ (BRRIICD).

Announced in 2013 by President Xi Jinping, Beijing’s trillion-dollar ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ seeks to assert Chinese dominance through state-sponsored infrastructure development, a China-centered trade network, and international investments in nearly 70 countries throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Anxious to secure reliable oil access to meet their growing industrial demands, many of these foreign investment ventures target politically turbulent countries in the Middle East like Pakistan.

In 2016, China committed $60 billion to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as part of the Belt and Road Initiative. China’s investment operation in Pakistan includes “a network of roads, pipelines, power plants, industrial parks, and a port along the Arabian Sea.”

Promoting the agreement, Yao Jing, the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, said: “Let us work together to push our all-weather friendship to new heights toward the realization of building the community of China-Pakistan shared future at an early date.”

Despite warnings, Pakistani government officials like Khan Hasham Bin Saddique — the Pakistani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia — work closely with Chinese nationals to promote this regional occupation.

In 2018, Saddique participated in an International Energy Forum seminar to discuss the Belt and Road Initiative as well as China’s oil and gas access in Riyadah.

Saddique also heads the Islamabad Policy Research Institute where Hannan Hussain works as an assistant researcher.

Touting “Pak China” collaboration on his social media, Saddique’s Islamabad Policy Research Institute routinely posts propaganda pieces from Chinese state-affiliated news organizations like CGTN.

Laden with dept-trap diplomacy and ‘trojan horse’ investments, CPEC and the Chinese Communist Party’s greater global development strategy is a nightmare dressed like a daydream.

Nonetheless, IPRI media puppets like Hannan Hussain and Hamzah R Hussain encourage regional powers like the UAE and Saudi Arabia to join Pakistan’s lead and consolidate their ties with China.

One thing’s certain: the novel coronavirus pandemic represents the delegitimization of the Chinese Communist Party as a global player, and – by cementing alliances with anti-US foreign nations like Pakistan – it’s clear China is gearing up for a global supply chain showdown.

Kingsley Cortes

Kingsley Cortes is a 2020 Writing Fellow for the National Pulse