China’s belt and road: What happens after the gold rush
In the late 1990s, Islamabad-based entrepreneur Sheikh Ejaz Asghar heard rumblings from his recently established Chinese contacts in the Pakistani capital.  Beijing was going to finance several major infrastructure projects and its state-owned enterprises (SOEs) would need local service providers, both to help navigate their new operating environment and procure the vast volumes of materials that would be needed. Acting on this timely tip-off, Asghar began visiting China in 2000 to establish relationships with SOEs and manufacturers of materials he would need to import. He also learned Chinese, to facilitate his new-found business relationships and strengthen his hand in negotiations. “It wa
China’s tweeter in chief
A Chinese diplomat joined Twitter to engage in public diplomacy – in May 2010. Zhao Lijian, China’s deputy chief of mission in Pakistan, began tweeting a little more than a year after Donald Trump did. Nearly a decade later, Zhao has proven to be ahead of his time. His colleague, Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the United States, set up his own Twitter account just last week. But if Zhao’s 50,000 tweets were any guide, Chinese officials’ growing presence on social media does not necessarily mean they want to remain diplomatic amid strained ties between the world’s two-biggest economies. This was evident most recently on Monday, when Zhao went on a 27-tweet tirade on the supposed failings
How women are lured into sexual slavery in China
Rabia Bibi considered herself the luckiest woman on Earth when she tied the knot with a Chinese man living in Pakistan. Her parents gave her away during a respectable wedding ceremony in January at Gujranwala, 60 miles from Pakistan’s second largest city, Lahore. Soon afterwards the couple left the country for a new life in China. Sadly, the marriage would not last. Rabia, 22, became the victim of persistent physical abuse at the hands of her new husband, which eventually prompted her to seek refuge at a local police station. She made contact with Pakistan’s diplomatic mission in Beijing, which agreed to facilitate a return to her home country. Hundreds like her have not been so lucky. Rabi
How ‘bride traffickers’ force women into prostitution in China
Pakistan said it has busted a criminal ring that trafficked young women to China, arresting eight Chinese nationals and four Pakistanis suspected of human trafficking. “The gang members confessed that they have sent at least 36 Pakistani girls to China where they are being used for prostitution,” Jameel Ahmad, a top official at Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency, said on Monday, Reuters reported. The cases in Pakistan highlight what Human Rights Watch has called a “disturbingly similar pattern” of women being trafficked to China for sham marriages from at least five other Asian countries. Over the years, similar cases of trafficking of young and underprivileged girls have been reported
How Pakistan’s hair becomes China’s wigs
Seven-year-old Hassan Khan is one of Pakistan’s tens of thousands of homeless children who each day pick through garbage on the outskirts of Islamabad, the capital, in search of human hair. “Hair is among my daily items, which also include plastics and other materials,” said Khan, adding that he is paid about 70 cents per day for his efforts. He is part of a global trade in hair that was estimated to be worth more than $81 million in 2017. Pakistan is now among the world’s top suppliers: the country’s Ministry of Commerce said last month that it had exported at least $1.6 million in human hair over the past five years. The ministry said much of Pakistan’s hair ends up in China, where it is
Pakistan’s cricketer-turned-leader promises to learn from China
Imagine if Michael Jordan retired to focus on public service. He spends 20 years in the political wilderness, only to be elected president in a stunning reversal of fortune. That’s analogous to what happened in Pakistan this week, when former cricket superstar Imran Khan claimed victory in national elections to become the country’s next leader, and likely China’s new best friend. Khan declared victory after a divisive general election, in which his social democratic Pakistan Tehreek e-Insaf party (PTI), also known as the Pakistan Movement for Justice, claimed the lead. Cricket is the most popular sport in South Asia, an inheritance from the region’s one-time British colonial rule. And Khan,