Security concerns of Chinese personnel in Pakistan

NS Venkataraman

NS Venkataraman

By NS Venkataraman

CHENNAI, India, 18 July 2021

The Chinese Premier spoke to the Pakistan Prime Minister a few days back, and demanded more security for Chinese personnel in Pakistan after the recent terrorist attack in Pakistan which killed nine Chinese personnel.

A vehicle driven by a suicide attacker and laden with explosives rammed a convoy of Chinese workers who were going to the site of a hydroelectric project, which is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in Dasu town.

This is not the first time that Chinese technicians and personnel have been attacked by extremist and terrorist groups in Pakistan. It is reported that the Pakistan army has been posted in sensitive project sites to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel. However, the present attack is the deadliest and has been prominently reported in the world media.

Obviously, the Chinese government is concerned about this violent trend, and must be wondering as to whether this would be an indication of the shape of things to come. The concern of Chinese government must be very high, since Chinese personnel and technicians are working on various projects not only in Pakistan, bt in several developing countries including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and a number of African countries.

By launching its Economic Corridor Projects in several countries, China has not only made these weak countries in debt to China, but has also promoted the economic, industrial, and political interests of China.

In the case of Pakistan, China is involved in several infrastructure and mining projects apart from virtually taking over the Gwadar port, which is a strategic port for China in several ways. By these measures and by extending huge loans, China has ensured that Pakistan can never go out of its control in the foreseeable future.

Earlier, Pakistan had close relationships with the US and other Western countries. However, these countries aligned themselves with Pakistan only as a strategic partner in the geo-political conditions prevailing at that time. These countries extended grant and aid for Pakistan in several ways, but never cared to get control over the economy and infrastructure projects in Pakistan. The present role of China in Pakistan is much different from that of these Western countries earlier.

Unfortunately, in recent years, extremist groups and highly-motivated Islamic terrorist organisations have gained a strong foothold in Pakistan. Most countries consider Pakistan as a terrorist-dominated country. This is more than evident from the fact that no country sends its team to participate in any sports or other activities in Pakistan these days, fearing security threat.

Today, the people of Pakistan are caught between Chinese domination on the one hand and domination by terrorist groups on the other. While many discerning citizens in Pakistan are concerned about the prevailing situation, and desire that Pakistan should get rid of domination by China and terrorist groups, the extremist terrorist groups know that domination by China over Pakistan is against their interests. This is the reason why terrorist groups are attacking Chinese personnel in Pakistan.

Even in other countries subjected to domination by Chinese government, anti-Chinese feelings are growing. There have been protests in Sri Lanka in recent times against Chinese presence in some projects.

Perhaps the concern expressed by the Chinese Prime Minister about the terrorist attacks on Chinese personnel working in Pakistan indicate that the Chinese government realises that economic, financial, and military domination over the weak countries by itself is not enough to achieve its expansionist and global domination scheme. People’s power in such countries that China seek to control would be a serious challenge confronting China before long.

Even after several decades of occupation of Tibet with brutal aggression and massacring thousands of protesting Tibetans, China is not in a position to allow citizens from other countries to visit Tibet and see the conditions for themselves. Obviously, this indicates that China has much to conceal about the present conditions in Tibet and is fearing the people’s power in Tibet.

All such conditions only clearly show that while China may succeed in militarily and economically overcoming some weak countries to advance its domination, it cannot overpower the feelings of resentment amongst the people in the countries that are aggressively dominated by China.

Now, China has to reshape its policies and approach, as it cannot protect the Chinese personnel from attack in other countries where the Chinese domination would be resented by the people. China cannot anymore take for granted the people in the weak countries where China hitherto appears to be thinking that subjecting the governments in these countries to its control would be adequate.

In world politics, money and military power alone is not enough to dominate any region. Chinese are bound to learn this at heavy cost.

About the author

NS Venkataraman is a chemical engineer as well as social activist in Chennai, India. He is the founder trustee of Nandini Voice for the Deprived, a Chennai-based not-for-profit organisation serving the cause of the deprived and down-trodden, and working for probity in public life.

More articles by NS Venkataraman on Tibet Sun.

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