BENEATH THE CRUST OF CPEC – HAN-ai-ZATION OF PAKISTAN

The sense that there is much beneath the CPEC that meets the eye, is getting stronger by day with the hurry that China is showing to complete the projects. The concept, planning and execution of CPEC which has been shrouded in the veil of secrecy since the inception, is now increasingly being questioned by the elites. The ordinary Pakistani continues to remain in the state of dreams sold to him by the policymakers and the Army. The reality of CPEC is yet to dawn on average Pakistani. An average Pakistani citizen thinks that, what China is giving them is economic aid – as has been the case with the US, but in reality, it is a huge loan, the cost of which will only come only with the time.

Over the past year, a small but vocal group of analysts have begun expressing unease over what CPEC will bring Pakistan. In particular, they are calling for transparency on deals. In Dec 2017, the Pakistani government released a summary of CPEC’s Long-Term Plan. But even this sheds no light on the terms and conditions of agreements, project timelines or the exact nature of Chinese funding.

CPEC’s scope is enormous and cannot be fully comprehended as of now. With the unfolding of events, the real contours of Chines game plan are beginning to become visible. In addition to opening up Pakistan’s domestic economy to Chinese participation on an unprecedented level, it will result in China’s deep penetration of Pakistan’s security, society and culture. The cross-border fibre optic cable project, for instance, will establish fast and reliable connectivity routed through China. It will facilitate terrestrial distribution of broadcast TV that is envisioned as carrying Chinese culture into Pakistani homes. In addition, China is promoting the study of Mandarin and has set up dozens of language schools across Pakistan. In fact, under a Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of Sichuan and Sindh provinces, Mandarin was made a compulsory subject for school children in Sindh. The number of Chinese nationals working and living in Pakistan has also surged in recent years, transforming entire neighbourhoods in Pakistani towns into ‘Chinatowns’.  Pakistan faces a “Han-ai-zation” of its economy, population and culture akin to what happened in Tibet.

Biggest Province gets the least

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that Baluchistan will be CPEC’s “biggest beneficiary”. Baluchis, however, are not convinced. CPEC evoked little optimism among them from the start, and they fear that CPEC would benefit outsiders rather than locals. An additional concern is that migration of Punjabi workers to Gwadar will change the demographic profile of the province, making the group a minority. Baluch opposition to the project is strong and has even been expressed violently. Baluch militants have carried out several attacks on workers from outside the province, including those from China.

Political Repercussions of CPEC

The unsettled status of Gilgit-Baltistan, between India and Pakistan worries China as it raises questions about the legality of CPEC projects. Under Chinese pressure Pakistan has taken decisions that are not in its interest. Chinese prodding has forced it to begin taking steps to formally integrate Gilgit-Baltistan. While this may provide legal cover for Chinese projects in Gilgit-Baltistan it will cost Pakistan the goodwill of Kashmiri separatists.

Pakistan’s upcoming parliamentary elections are an additional cause for concern. While Pakistan’s main political parties are not opposed to CPEC, there are differences in their priorities. The ruling Pakistan Muslim League—Nawaz (PML-N) prioritizes projects along CPEC’s relatively calm eastern route, which runs through its stronghold, Punjab. However, should the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) form or be part of the next government it can be expected to shift focus to the turbulent western route. A change in government could lead to a review and or change in the deals, which may not be to Chinese liking.

Han-ai-zation of Pakistan is a definite reality

China and Pakistan are likely to continue to differ on issues related to CPEC. However, these are unlikely to derail the initiative, given their strong relationship, Pakistan’s deepening dependence on China and Beijing’s determination to make a success of BRI’s flagship venture. Other countries participating in BRI can draw lessons from Pakistan’s experience with CPEC. They can expect massive Chinese investment but not on generous terms. Chinese funding is not largesse and will extract a heavy price. As in Pakistan, they can expect “Han-ai-zation” of their economy, population and culture. Pakistan’s march towards the economic el-darado must factor the Chinese interference in their political system.   

24 Jan 2018/Wednesday     

sajiakhan.sk2016@gmail.com

SEND PLA TO PAK : DEMAND CHINESE CITIZENS

The abduction and reported killing of two young Chinese in Balochistan has stirred angry calls for retribution in Chinese social media, even as the Chinese government has played down the incident out of strategic considerations towards its "all weather ally" Pakistan.

Chinese internet users have even demanded action for China to send PLA troops to Pakistan to bring the kidnappers to justice, the South China Morning Post reported on Sunday, even while Beijing has told State media outlets to play down the incident.

The ISIS group on June 8 claimed the kidnapping of two young Chinese, initially reported to be language teachers, near Quetta in Balochistan and said it had killed Li Zingyang (24) and Meng Lisi (26), although China has said it is still verifying the information with the Pakistani authorities even 10 days later.

To assuage anger, Chinese State media and Pakistani officials have since sought to change the narrative away from the security problems in Pakistan and have claimed Li and Meng may have been preachers.

In fact, Chinese outlets have gone as far as blaming the two young Chinese for their own tragic fate with the Party-run Global Times alleging they were preaching door to door and angering locals, triggering the kidnapping.

This attempt to shift the narrative has stirred fresh anger, the SCMP reported. "One user responded with dark humour: 'The Pakistani government said they were told that the two Chinese were missionaries. I was just wondering, who told them?'"

Many comments on the Chinese Twitter equivalent Sina Weibo have demanded action and criticised Beijing's response, the SCMP said.

"How much blood do we still have to spill until the government is willing to take action?" wrote Deng Dabao.

"We shall start a war against IS, killing them on behalf of the two murdered Chinese," SCMP quoted another user Zhou Qi Bei Hou as saying. "It is time to fight violence with violence," added Lingchen99096.

The newspaper said "a significant level of online outrage could be problematic for Chinese leaders who are reluctant to engage in overseas military operations yet are equally reluctant to stir up social unrest ahead of an important Communist Party meeting later this year. Government mainstream media has remained mostly silent on the issue."

Despite the public anger

"Will Beijing follow the request of it's citizens and send PLA troops to Pak? No, of course not," Wu Xinbo of Fudan University in Shanghai told SCMP.

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Murdered Chinese Nationals were involved in religious conversion :Pakistani Interior Minister

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said two Chinese Nationals, Lee Zing Yang, 24, and Meng Li Si, 26, were involved in preaching and religious conversion activities and not a genuine business. This startling revelation has come at a time when there is a confusion whether the slain couple is Chinese or South Korean.

Deflecting the issue the minister said that, violation of visa rules had contributed to abductions and there should be a review of the visa process for Chinese nationals entering Pakistan, and for a databank to track Chinese workers in different parts of the country.

This incident has prompted Pakistan to take immediate steps towards beefing up security around the OBOR, primarily focused on the monitoring and safety of Chinese nationals. Earlier the Pak PM Nawaz Sharif was handed over the royal snub by Xi Jinping in Astana over the killing of Chinese Nationals.

Sources say Pakistan is going to deploy at least 15,000 additional troops to ensure the security of Chinese nationals in Balochistan, ensuring tight monitoring and swift progress of $57 billion Chinese investment on CPEC-OBOR.

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OBOR - Road to Slavery

Top Pak political economist S Akbar Zaidi says after OBOR gets ready, Pakistan will become China’s colony, once China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) -- flagship project under the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative is operationalised.
Zaidi noted that the “CPEC initiative is the most discussed but the least transparent among all the foreign initiatives in Pakistan”.
“It is indeed a game changer, but not in the way our ruling classes have projected it to be. It will enslave Pakistan and undermine its sovereignty,” alleged Zaidi author of pioneering books --‘Military Civil Society and democratisation in Pakistan’ and ‘Issues in Pakistan’s Economy’.
“CPEC is a part of China’s OBOR initiative to expand its influence in the world and Pakistan is just the geographical space used by Beijing to reach the warm waters of the Persian Gulf. But in the process, Beijing blueprint will ensure complete control over Pakistan,” Zaidi further alleged.
Incidentally Zaidi’s comments came on the very day when SCO praised China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Zaidi quoted Pak Senator Tahir Mashhadi, chairman of the standing committee on planning and development, who had described the CPEC corridor as the advent of “another East India Company is in the offing.” China has announced to invest whopping $ 62 bn in CPEC.
The most dangerous implication of the CPEC would be that, with China taking over Pakistan, providing it with undisclosed amount of investments, Pakistan’s foreign relations, especially those with India, will be determined by the Chinese, the Pak scholar warned. “Pakistan’s obsession with China and CPEC will prevent any rapprochement between India and Pakistan unless the Chinese themselves initiate such a process and that they would do only if that fits into their grand design in the region.
“Our ruling classes, especially the military, have first lived with the influence of US imperialism, then allowed unusual degree of Saudi intrusion in domestic, cultural and social affairs. Now they have prostrated themselves before Chinese imperial designs.”
Analysis
Chinese investments will force Pakistan to tow Beijing centric foreign and domestic policy. Presently internal and external geo politics situation, in and around Pakistan is not conducive to this kind of Chinese interference. In long term it will destabilize Pakistan, as Pakistan will be forced to tax its own citizens at an increasing rates to repay the det. Even IMF has warned about it.
Relations with India will take a bigger hit, as Chinese military bases in close vicinity will force India to adopt an even stronger military stance which will put more strain on impoverished Pak economy. US has already come out with their assessment over this issue.
OBOR is a sure shot disaster recipe unless Chinese Government comes out with more transparency on the project and dispels misgivings.

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XI JINPING SNUBS NAWAZ SHARIF AFTER MURDER OF CHINESE NATIONALS

In a rare snub to all-weather ally Pakistan, Chinese President Xi Jinping skipped a customary meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the SCO summit in Astana after the murder of two Chinese teachers in Balochistan.

Xi's snub followed deep disappointment among Chinese over slaying of two Chinese citizens who were kidnapped last month from Quetta.

Chinese state-run media highlighted Xi's meetings with Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev, Prime Minister Narendra Modi+ and Russian President Vladimir Putin only.

Xi's unprecedented snub followed deep disappointment and grief among Chinese public over the slaying of the two Chinese citizens who were kidnapped last month from Quetta in Balochistan.

The two were brutally murdered reportedly by Islamic State (IS) militants. The news of their murders was made public ahead of the SCO summit held on June 8-9 in which India and Pakistan were admitted as members.

On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying explained that the murders were no way connected to the $50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which was opposed by the Baloch nationalists.

The CPEC is part of China's ambitious multi-billion Belt and Road intuitive (BRI).

China has deployed hundreds of Chinese workers to work for the CPEC which connects Gwadar port in Balochistan with China's Xinjiang through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

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ISLAMIC STATE KILLS TWO CHINESE NATIONALS IN PAKISTAN

The ISIS says, it has killed two Chinese nationals who were abducted from south-west Pakistan by armed men in late May. The couple is said to have been studying Urdu at a language centre in the city of Quetta, when they were abducted. According to local media reports at the time of the abduction, armed men took the couple away with them as they left the centre. Another Chinese woman just managed to escape during the confrontation.

The IS-linked Amaq news agency made the claim in an Arabic statement on the Telegram messaging app.

China's foreign ministry said it was "gravely concerned" and working to verify the information.

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China Defends Pakistan Involvement in Kabul Bombing.

China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Li Huilai, during a media briefing, deflected a question on Afghanistan blaming Pakistan’s intelligence agency for the recent bomb attacks in Kabul, saying China condemned the recent terrorist assaults in Afghanistan, Britain and the Philippines.

He goes on to make statements without naming Pakistan.

 “China strongly condemns these violent terrorist incidents and in fact we oppose all forms of terrorism”.

“At present the international community in terms of opposing terrorism has broad consensus, and all parties emphasise that tackling the threat posed by terrorism is not something that one party or one country alone can successfully do”

 “The international community should step up cooperation and work together to jointly tackle terrorism and China stands willing to work together with other parties, bilaterally and multilaterally to step up cooperation and take all necessary measures to jointly protect respective countries and regional security and development”.

This stance of China comes in the backdrop of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s lashing out at Pakistan, alleging that it is waging an "undeclared war of aggression" against Afghanistan. Issuing a stinging rebuke aimed towards Pakistan before a gathering of 23 nations, the European Union, the United Nations and Nato, Ghani asked: "What will it take to convince Pakistan that a stable Afghanistan helps them and helps our region?" Ghani's fresh criticism comes as the Kabul Process, a forum for the discussing security and political issues in the country, is underway. Pakistan and Afghanistan have long accused each other of turning a blind eye to militants operating along their porous border, and both forces exchanged fire over a border dispute last month.

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Ramadan 2017: China stops Muslims of Xinjiang region from fasting in Ramadan

Communist party has repeatedly tried to crack down on expressions of Muslim identity in the region
China is stopping it's Muslims from fasting during Ramadan in the predominantly Muslim province of Xinjiang.
According to the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), officials in the region ordered all restaurants to remain open and a series of measures have been put in place seemingly designed to prevent people observing the holy month.
The region is dominated by the ethnically distinct Uyghur people, a group who have suffered years of repression. Beijing has tried to wipe out religious expression. China also so fears religious extremism as the region borders several Muslim-majority countries where Islamist violence is becoming an increasing problem. A notice issued by the Industrial and Commercial Bureau of Aksu (in Chinese, Akesu) prefecture’s Bay (Baicheng) county in the region said the move was to ensure “stability maintenance”.
It is forcing party activists to do marathon 24-hour shifts on guard in public buildings which make forgoing food and drink almost impossible.
Separately, in neighbouring Hotan (Hetian) county, students have been told they must gather on Fridays to “collectively study, watch red (communist) films, and conduct sports activities” to “enrich their social life during the summer vacation”.
Friday is Islam’s holy day and many customarily start the day at the mosque. In addition, many Muslims will have little energy to take part in sport while they are fasting.
A Han Chinese official in Hotan province refused to clarify whether the measures were explicitly designed to stop Uyghur’s from fasting and praying during Ramadan when questioned by Radio Free Asia.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, he said: “I cannot give you any details on this matter. You’d better inquire about it with the public security sectors.”
Another Han official working for the Zawa township in the province said public servants had been banned from fasting and if found out they would be “dealt with.
The WUC notes that the restrictions on observing Ramadan do not seem to apply to the rest of China.
The authorities have tried to curtail observation of Ramadan, which runs from 26 May to 24 June this year, for several years but this time it coincides with the government’s increasingly draconian measures to crack down on religious expression.
In March it banned burqas and “abnormal” beards, and a month later banned Islamic baby names.
Last year, Uyghur’s reported that officials were asking for DNA samples, fingerprints and voice records when they applied for a passport or to go abroad.

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HAN-AI-SATION OF PAKISTAN

 

https://www.dawn.com/news/1333509/more-students-in-pakistan-are-learning-chinese-today-than-ever-before

Colonisation of Pakistan - China launches first Chinese weekly in ISLAMABAD – Pakistan launched its first-ever Chinese language weekly newspaper in Pak capital Islamabad this week.Huashang’s editorial policy is meant to highlight culture, tourism and recreational activities in both countries. It is targeted largely towards Chinese embassy staff, nationals and employees of Chinese companies.The weekly also boasts an English version to its primarily Chinese publication.With its head office located in Islamabad, Huashang publishes 5000 copies every week, with the publication hitting 60,000 readers this past week as the newspaper released its 21st edition in Pakistan, hoping for a bright future for Chinese language journalism in Pakistan.The newspaper’s Facebook page states that it was launched following the “One Belt One Road” initiative, with an aim to advance “enterprise-depth cooperation between China and Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor”. The newspaper is supposed to be meant for particularly working on business in Pakistan and China, but who knows the ulterior motive of China- may be first step towards HAN-AI-SATION OF PAKISTAN .