A New Silk Road
As the United States ends its close relationship with Pakistan, China is quick to take its place. President Trump recently put a final nail in the coffin of the troubled relationship by saying that "the US could no longer stay silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorists” and that the country must “demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and peace.” Meanwhile, Pakistan has become the center of China's trillion dollar plans to revive the ancient Silk Road. In its hunger to gain access to the world's untapped resources and expand its military power, China has pledged over $60 billion to build the ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which starts in the port city of Gwadar and ends in the conflict-ridden province of Xinjiang.
China's New Silk Road affects 5 billion people and involves half of all global GDP
A New World Order
China has been developing both economic and strategic political ties with Pakistan aggressively as part of their reimagining of the Silk Road coined Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This massive project affects 4.4 billion people and involves half of all global GDP. China’s development of BRI begins in Pakistan with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the “flagship project” for BRI and the nexus of the proposed international network. The CPEC is intended to “promote connectivity across Pakistan with a network of highways, railways, and pipelines accompanied by energy, industrial, and other infrastructure development projects.”
Eventually, the CPEC construction will create lucrative trade routes that connect China to the Indian Ocean, linking the Chinese city of Kashgar to the Gwadar Port in Pakistan. CPEC also places China in an extremely powerful geostrategic position, allowing it to build military and naval bases on the Arabian Sea and having multi-billion dollar pathways to oil and other natural resources.
China in Pakistan
The friendship between China and Pakistan has historically been described as “higher than the Himalayas, deeper than the deepest sea, and sweeter than honey," and has recently culminated in China’s sixty billion dollar investment in Pakistan’s future. The Iron Friendship: China in Pakistan will be a feature-length essay-style documentary examining China’s trillion-dollar development of a reimagined Silk Road beginning in Pakistan and then branching out to nearly 70 countries. This documentary will be a journalistic endeavor looking at how China’s diplomatic, economic and military developments within Pakistan are dramatically shifting alliances and power around the globe.
Critics of a renewed China in Pakistan alliance for the construction of CPEC, believe China will exploit the resources and people of Pakistan, turning the country into a security state protecting China’s interests. The Iron Friendship will examine how this new global power structure threatens the current status quo of the United States, India and Iran. Filmmakers Brent Huffman, Dr. Amina Asim and Xiaoli Zhou, with unprecedented access to the Pakistani and Chinese governments, will tell the most essential, yet untold story of the 21st century.
The Iron Friendship: China in Pakistan asks: how do these ambitious plans of the powerful affect lives of the powerless? And explores questions of how the United States, India, Iran, and violent oppositional groups like the Taliban, East Turkestan Movement, and Baloch separatists are challenging China's attempt to create a new world order.
China has pledged more than $60 billion for 51 infrastructure and energy projects across Pakistan
The documentary film The Iron Friendship is told through the perspective of several main subjects throughout Pakistan to visualize the layered and complex story of China’s influence and presence inside Pakistan. Completed interviews with the Minister of Planning and Development in Pakistan, Director of CPEC, prominent Pakistani politicians and military officials, as well as planned interviews of Chinese politicians/investors and engineers working in Pakistan, help tell the hopes and aspirations of those working to build a prosperous union between the two countries. The Iron Friendship looks at life on the ground for Pakistani citizens as well as Chinese immigrants working and living in Pakistan.
The film will also examine the opposition’s point of view interviewing Chinese Uyghurs who have fled China due to oppression, East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) members violently opposing Chinese involvement with Pakistan, Baluchistan citizens negatively affected by Chinese development in Gwadar and members of the Taliban who use violence to push back against Chinese economic activities.
Much like character-based journalistic essay-style documentaries Iraq in Fragments, The Fog of War, Virunga, FRONTLINE and Brent Huffman’s own Saving Mes Aynak, The Iron Friendship will examine these issues from all perspectives to create a complex portrait of China in Pakistan and the future of the new Silk Road.
With the 60% of filming in Pakistan, China and Washington, DC already completed, the next planned phase takes us to the Himalayas in Pakistan, through China and India. The final phase will have us back in the United States where we will complete our filming and contextualize the impact of this development on US Super Power.
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