By Li Xiaomeng – A tale of a young Chinese Diplomat
The article was originally published at Gwadar Pro
Eventful and struggling initial days in Karachi
Karachi is the capital of the province of Sindh. The Chinese Consulate in Karachi is located in southern Pakistan and provides consular services for the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan. It is home to a number of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects in this area, as well as many Chinese-funded enterprises and Chinese citizens.
Under the leadership of the Ministry of Commerce and the Consulate General, the business office of the Consulate General in Karachi shoulders important duties in promoting the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, advancing the in-depth development of China-Pakistan economic and trade relations, and safeguarding the lawful rights and interests of Chinese-funded enterprises in the territorial areas.
On November 16, 2018, the Consulate General in Karachi held the 2018 Annual Conference on the Safety of Chinese Enterprises in the consular district. The meeting was presided over by Counselor Guo Chunshui of the Business Office. Counsel General Wang Yu and Deputy Counsel Chen Xiaodong also attended the meeting.
In Karachi, the biggest difficulty and challenge facing us is personal safety besides the harsh natural environment. But unexpectedly, the problem that I faced with at first was neither harsh conditions nor safety threats, but the extremely hot weather.
Karachi is torrid for nearly 11 months a year, and the temperature often exceeds 40 °C or even 50 °C in summer. In this heat wave, if you are outdoors, the skin will be almost burnt. Despite the roasting heat, you would never be drenched in sweat, because the sweat also quickly evaporates in the air. Living in Pakistan, I knew that it was very important to choose the right shoes; otherwise, they would be melted by the searing ground and become stuck to it.
My friends in Beijing sometimes complain about insufficient precipitation, but compared to Karachi, Beijing is blessed by a relative abundance of rain.
I still remember that evening in June 2017 when we were working overtime in the office. One of our colleagues called with excitement, “Come outside, it’s raining in Karachi!” I walked outdoors and saw him dancing with joy in the rain in the small courtyard of the business room. I still remember when he called out to me, “Let’s enjoy the rain.”
33 Months: A Journey Of Happiness
Work in the business office of the Consulate General was comprehensive and substantial. The Counselor often encouraged young people to take opportunities to accumulate knowledge and improve ourselves. I sincerely thank the organization for sending me to Karachi, so that I can have the precious opportunity to steel myself mentally and professionally. With the guidance and help of leaders and colleagues, I faced up to all difficulties, devoted myself to my career, and finally obtained an all-round growth.
Karachi Consulate Under Attack
As if in the blink of an eye, February 23, 2019 came up, the exact day that marked the 33 months I had been working in Karachi. Almost three months ago, the terrorists attacked the Consulate General in Karachi. That day, November 23, 2018 remains a nightmare for me. At 9:13 am, I was on the phone with a colleague of mine from the consular department. Suddenly, some noise interrupted from the other end of the line, and the next second I heard my friend speaking in a rushed tone, “Xiao Meng, I got to go, sounds like a gunfight breaking out!”
The phone was hung up. A gunfight?! I couldn’t help but feel worried and frightened as if my heart was being squeezed by a big hand. After a quarter of an hour, we finally got in touch again only to know that the consulate was being attacked. The terrorists broke into the consulate’s waiting room and exchanged gunfire with the Pakistani police. The fierce gun battle caused many casualties of the Pakistani police protecting the location. Fortunately, most of the consular officials were safe hiding in the basement.
Extremely worried about our safety from thousands of miles away, leaders, colleagues, and families from the motherland China got in touch with us the moment the news spread out and paid close attention to the situation. Their concern was strongly reminiscent of the peaceful life in China. But we were aware that being confronted by harsh conditions and safety threats was a part of the routine for our Chinese diplomats in Karachi.
Donations Poured In
A donation ceremony jointly organized by the Karachi Branch of the All-China Enterprises Association and the Three Gorges Pakistan Wind Power Company was organised on April 18, 2018 at the Jhimpir Secondary High School in Thatta, Sindh Province, in southern Pakistan. Nearly 100 people attended this event, including Counselor Guo Chunshui, Commercial Office of the Chinese Consulate General in Karachi, Ding Hongyu, Vice President of the Karachi Branch of the All-China Enterprises Association, Deputy General Manager of the Three Gorges South Asia Company, Mr. Wang Minsheng, the employees of the Three Gorges Pakistan Wind Power Company, the councillors of the Thatta Regional Government, the officers of the Thatta District Education department, representatives of the village and the donated schools.
Visa Issues Of Pakistani Entrepreneurs
With regards to handling foreign cases, I was a novice when dealing with corporate problems two years ago. During the 33 months in Karachi, I not only learned and mastered a large number of laws and regulations, but also accumulated sufficient work experience. I also helped Chinese-funded enterprises in the consular districts to solve a number of difficulties in investment and operation under the guidance of the Counselor and the help of my colleagues.
In 2017, when I helped companies deal with the goods retention in port, I managed to get a legal explanation specially issued by the Ministry of Commerce of Pakistan, which not only helped companies avoid a large number of economic losses, but also improve the tax regulations on special vehicles of Pakistan customs.
In 2018, we helped many Chinese seed export companies recover their economic losses and maintain the international reputation of Chinese hybrid rice. Vice president of the China National Seed Association led a delegation to visit our Consulate and sent a banner saying “Commitment to the nation” which is the biggest compliment to us.
These achievements were the outcomes of countless sleepless nights of reading materials, studying relevant laws and international jurisprudence, collecting evidence, and repeated consultations with Pakistani colleagues.
With regard to research and writing, I remember that more than two years ago, the Counselor reviewed my draft, explaining the norms and requirements of the official document with patience. I am grateful to the Counselor for his tireless guidance on topics, structure, and writing of my report. I am also grateful to myself for being determined to improve the writing level and research skills of the official document. This also proves the phrase “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.
For a long time, I also faced many inconveniences and difficulties in my work and life as the only Chinese female diplomat in the Karachi area. I fully respected the local religious habits, making efforts to improve my professional knowledge and better know about Pakistan. I tried my best to not lag behind in the teamwork and display my professional skills to the best of my abilities. I also learned some simple Urdu language, which brought me closer to the local people.
Gradually, I heard friends from Pakistan saying, “Madam Lee of the Chinese Consulate General is very kind and is a good friend!”
New beginning: Marching to the bright future
Looking back to the past 33 months, I came to realize the importance of my mission:
——We are the image of China in foreign affairs
——We are the guardians of the motherland in the face of the changing political landscape and economic turbulence.
——We are the pioneers in promoting the Belt and Road Initiative.
——We are solid support providers when Chinese-funded enterprises are in trouble .
The Invisible Future
Compared with 33-months ago, the overseas working experience has endowed me more confidence to face more challenges in the future.
The harsh condition of Karachi built up my perseverance. The threat of terrorism does not deter us from moving forward boldly. The temporary difficulties will not shake our resolve to continue our traditional friendship, advance the building of the China-Pakistan economic corridor and deepen our economic and trade cooperation.
As a devoted business diplomat, 33 months is too short for me. The future will be more challenging!
On November 24, 2018, the day after the terrorist attack, the whole Consulate was busy coping with the aftermath. I received the bad news that my grandfather passed away, but I couldn’t return to China because of the chaos in Pakistan.
In the middle of the night, my father comforted me on the phone, “That’s alright. Your grandpa understands your choice.” Hearing that, the tears went streaming down my face. I believe I am devoted to my duty as my predecessors and colleagues were.
This article is dedicated to:
The Pakistani police officials who sacrificed their lives in the terrorist attacks to protect us.
My Leaders, colleagues, and comrades who are committed to the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,
And my grandfather.
Xi Jinping declares China a moderately prosperous society in all respects
BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) — Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, announced on Thursday that China has realized its first centenary goal — building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
The achievement marks a key milestone for the world’s most populous country on its journey toward national rejuvenation.
“This means that we have brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China, and we are now marching in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects,” said Xi, also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, at a ceremony marking the CPC centenary at Tian’anmen Square.
The achieving of moderate prosperity, or Xiaokang in Chinese, is measured in consideration of multiple aspects such as the economy, democracy, science and education, culture, society and people’s lives. The requirements include doubling the country’s 2010 GDP and per capita disposable income by 2020.
Last year, the country’s GDP exceeded 100 trillion yuan (about 15.45 trillion U.S. dollars). Its per capita disposable income hit 32,189 yuan, double the level in 2010. The country has developed the world’s largest social security system and boasts the world’s biggest middle-income group — 400 million people. In a historic feat, China has eliminated absolute poverty.
Poverty relief assistants Liu Ying (1st L) and He Changle (2nd L), and village officials help carry melons planted by villagers in Dongqin Village, Congjiang County of southwest China’s Guizhou Province, Nov. 11, 2020. (Xinhua/Yang Wenbin)
Xiaokang is a phrase about well-off life first mentioned in the Book of Songs, China’s first anthology of poems dating back more than 2,000 years. An idea cherished by the Chinese people for thousands of years has become a reality in today’s China.
Late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping once used Xiaokang to describe Chinese modernization, and first proposed building a Xiaokang society. The 12th National Congress of the CPC in 1982 set the achievement of Xiaokang as a goal. Later, Xiaokang was included in the country’s three-step strategic plan for economic development.
The country realized Xiaokang on the whole at the end of the 20th century. In 2002, the CPC put forward the aim of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. The 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012 set the goal of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020. The standards of and requirements for Xiaokang became increasingly comprehensive and strict.
The CPC stressed that no one should be left behind on the path to a Xiaokang society. In the past eight years, China focused on areas of extreme poverty, and lifted the final 98.99 million impoverished rural residents out of poverty by the end of 2020.
Over the past 40-plus years, the country has lifted 770 million people out of poverty, meeting the poverty eradication target in the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule, and resolving its greatest challenge in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
Li Weiyun, from Xiuyun Village of Cangxi County, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, has keenly felt the changes in his village. With the development of eco-agriculture, many villagers have moved into multistory homes and purchased cars.
“Now a good life has been achieved at home,” he said. He brought in an income of 200,000 yuan this year by growing peaches.
“It is a tremendous contribution to the world that 1.4 billion people are living a Xiaokang life,” said Liu Endong, a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
Such a feat has become a reality only under the leadership of the CPC, which “puts the people first, has strong execution capabilities, and upholds socialism with Chinese characteristics,” he said.
“China’s success in achieving Xiaokang has made important contributions toward the Sustainable Development Goals and provides valuable lessons for other countries in the global fight against poverty,” said Beate Trankmann, resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme in China.
Global communication event ‘Daka China – Jinhua, A Golden Hub of BRI’ to start on June 6
ISLAMABAD – A global communication event for the international community to better approach the cooperative spirit of the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) and the significance of East China’s Zhejiang Province to the BRI and globalisation will be held from 6th to 7th June in Jinhua, the most important node of Zhejiang stretching out towards the BRI.
The theme of the event is “Jinhua, A Global Hub of BRI”, showcasing the vital position of Jinhua to the scenario of BRI as well as Zhejiang’s active engagement in promoting globalisation and cross-cultural communication in an all-round manner.
The event will bring together nearly 100 journalists, government information officers, and social media influencers from countries along the BRI. It will be the 2nd grand event in the series of the brand new “Daka China” Global Communication Event, a flagship global communication project by Zhejiang Daily Media Convergence Technology Co., Ltd., one of China’s leading companies focusing on media convergence and digitisation.
The opening ceremony will include a series of keynote speeches delivered by social media influencers and government information officers from Jinhua City and Zhejiang Province. They will comment on the attractions of n Zhejiang, and Jinhua in particular, as well as on the future of international communication.
After the opening ceremony, all the attendees of the event will take a group tour around inside the Jinhua City and visit a few well-known scenic spots, including the Hengdian World Studios (the world’s largest film & TV base), Yiwu International Trade City (the world’s largest wholesale market). They will also experienced a few Jinhua’s authentic folk cultures such as the Wu opera, a traditional folk opera of Jinhua City.
In the break-out sessions, participants will have the opportunity to network and share their experiences of living and travelling in Zhejiang and Jinhua.
China says ready to help India, other S Asian countries fighting COVID-19
Virus origin probes should be left to scientists to investigate, not US intelligence agencies, says CPAFFC President
BEIJING, China – China has the willingness, capacity and resources to help India and other South Asian countries that are grappling with the new wave of COVID-19 cases, said the president of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC).
When India became engulfed in the second wave of COVID-19 cases and faced a severe shortage of medical resources such as protective suits, the CPAFFC expressed its willingness to help the Indian government, Lin Songtian, president of the organisation, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Thursday.
“As long as [India] asks, we will offer full support,” said Lin, noting that as India’s most important neighbour, China has the willingness, capacity and resources to help Indian people overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met virtually with his counterparts from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh on Tuesday to discuss efforts to fight against COVID-19 and seek post-pandemic economic recovery.
The foreign ministers attending the online meeting reached an agreement to build China-South Asia emergency reserves.
Lin said that the CPAFFC is actively negotiating with local governments and institutes with which it has ties to collect anti-pandemic resources such as masks, protective suits, ventilators and other items to help India, as well as other South Asian countries.
Lin made the remarks to the Global Times while he was attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Forum on People-to-people Friendship, which is being held in Wuhan, Hubei Province from Wednesday to Friday.
Lin refuted recent smears against the Wuhan Institute of Virology from the US, after US President Joe Biden demanded that US intelligence agencies confirm in 90 days if the coronavirus emerged from a laboratory, sparking an uproar in the international community.
Virus origin probes should be left to scientists to investigate, not US intelligence agencies, said Lin, noting that the US’ moves are not scientific, and they serve the country’s aim of politicising as well as stigmatising the virus.
Lin said that choosing Wuhan to host the SCO’s first people-to-people exchange forum is aimed at sending a signal of gratitude to international friends who helped Wuhan and China combat the pandemic, boosting the morale of people who are still grappling with the pandemic, and sending out China’s friendly voice to the international community about building a community with a shared future for mankind, to cope with the major changes of the century.
Lin said that international relations should be led by both high-level government officials as well as people-to-people exchanges, which can boost mutual understanding and friendship between Chinese and people from other countries.
He also prioritised pushing forward people-to-people exchanges between China and the US. He said that over the past year, he had 22 online and in-person communications with Americans from all walks of life, including local governments of sister cities, research institutes, business circles and the media.
Lin said that in the course of those communications, he experienced a China-US relationship that is totally different from that which Western media have described.
“First, we share the same idea that both Chinese and Americans desire world peace. Second, the two countries’ companies and research institutes are looking forward to development, and third, the two countries can benefit from each other.”
But at the same time, the US government has been politicising its China policies by painting China as its biggest rival, which has been reflected in Washington’s decision to close Confucius Institutes and tighten visa approvals for Chinese students. US politics has poisoned public opinion, and public opinion has been kidnapped by politics, said Lin, noting that US politicians can now only win votes by waving the anti-China flag.
Against this backdrop, and with people-to-people exchanges cut off by the pandemic, the US government has been using the media to fabricate rumours about China and point fingers at Beijing, said Lin.
He believed that as an organisation that advocates friendly exchanges between people, it is important to let more people see the truth about China.
“First, it is important to invite Westerners to witness China’s development. Then, we can encourage foreigners in China to spread the truth about China to the outside world,” said Lin, noting that “the CPAFFC will organise foreigners in China to visit more places in this country, to form a deep understanding and to understand China, and through them, to demonstrate a real, dimensional China to the outside world.”