THE recent arrest of 13 Chinese men from Lahore is a hot-topic nowadays. With a mix feeling of fear, apprehension and of surprise, the topic is being discussed everywhere from offices to the markets. Some of the ‘learned analysts’ are trying their best to name this incident as ‘hazards’ of the CPEC. They are trying to make the people realize that after the completion of the CPEC, the ‘insurgency’ of the Chinese people into our Pakistani society would grow more serious and would become a grave threat to our social system. Some people are of the opinion that by the time the CPEC starts its complete working, the number of Chinese workers would increase many times. The Chinese do drink as wine is not prohibited in their social set-up; their religion does not stop them from eating donkey and dog-meat, so they do eat it. The increasing presence of Chinese in Pakistani society would attract the locals towards their ‘bad-habits’, some people fear.
All these apprehensions might be somewhat close to reality but let us look at the other side of this picture. People all over the world do migrate to other countries; some for a short time span and some for their whole life but it always depends upon the individual, how deeply he accepts the foreign culture and how forcefully he affects the society he has become the part of. According to a report in 2012 there were more than 5000 students in China and in 2016, this number reached 19,000. Pakistani students studying at Chinese universities, make Pakistan the fourth largest source of international students in the country. The main disciplines of studies include medicine; engineering, economics and management. Pakistanis in China consist largely of temporary residents, including international students and cross-border traders. Usually they are concentrated in the Xinjiang autonomous region of northwest China. The report further says that in 2017 there were approximately 14335 Pakistanis in China but most of them stayed there on a temporary basis.
Let us cast a look at the present number of Chinese in Pakistan which was somewhere around 20,000 in 2013 and in 2018 it was reaching the figure of 60,000. This increase in number of Chinese in Pakistan is directly linked with the ongoing completion work on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. This fact must also be kept in mind that in 2018 the total population of Pakistan was 200,813,818 whereas the total population of China in 2018 was around 1,415,045,928. The question here arises is very interesting; did the Pakistanis in China start eating dogs and donkeys and taking wine during their stay there? Did the Chinese give up eating frogs, monkeys and snakes following the Pakistani Muslims? There could be a few examples on both sides but a few ones are never ranked as the ‘Standard’. If 13 out of 60000 (2018) Chinese are found guilty of deceiving Pakistani girls, it does not mean that all Chinese in Pakistan are temperamentally of the same nature.
The problem which is bothering some internal and external ‘well-wishers’ of Pakistan is not the presence of Chinese in Pakistan but the CPEC which is being termed as the ‘game-changer’. It is neither China nor the Chinese; it is simply the CPEC which has become a pain in the neck for the world around. Forces hostile to Pakistan are not happy over materialization of CPEC; the dreamlike project. The most important reality regarding this project is that it would provide Pakistan an opportunity of getting free from the clutches of the West, politically, financially and militarily. It would help Pakistan in coming out of a state of dependence. Experts say that CPEC will prove itself a connector of different cultures and civilizations and it would guarantee collective economic development to all those who join it. Direct and indirect foreign investment is also expected in bulk. The CPEC would further minimize the role of India in the present geo-political scenario because Pakistan would become the focus of all attention.
It is a bitter reality that internationally, countries like the US are frightened of the CPEC because this project has brought Pakistan and China more close to each other molding them into a new identity. US is frightened that after the completion of this project, her role in Afghanistan would simply come to an end and her dream of making India the ‘Regional Super Power’ would also reach a catastrophic ending. Now a new wave of defaming China and the CPEC for the criminal activities of some Chinese individuals seems a part of the same movement which had once started with the killing and kidnapping of Chinese engineers and labourers working on the CPEC route in Pakistan.