The arrest of 13 Chinese men from Lahore is being named as the ‘hazards of the CPEC’ by some ‘well-wishers’ of Pakistan. These men were arrested on the charges of human trafficking. According to the media details, these men allegedly married Pakistani girls, took them to China and there forced them to get involved in prostitution. With a mix feeling of fear, apprehension and of surprise, the topic is being discussed everywhere from offices to the markets and from TV talks shows to the columns of newspapers. Some of the speakers and writers are trying desperately 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 culture 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.
A permanent or temporary migration to other lands is nothing new or novel in the human history. People all over the world do migrate to other countries; some for a short time span and some for their whole life. Some people completely submerge in the new atmosphere they have migrated to and some succeed in retaining their own identity. 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 for a short period.
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.
The actual story behind is that countries like 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 laborers working on the CPEC route in Pakistan. The character of the whole nation must not be disfigured on the basis of wrong doings of some individuals.