Concept of Establishing a Bangladesh China Complex for Achieving Strategic Level Partnership under the Chinese President Xijinping’s Initiative of One Belt One Road
By Lt Col (Retd) Md Shahadat Hossain, psc
October 1st 1949 was the Memorial Day for the founding of the People’s Republic of China and as such Chinese National Day is celebrated on this date every year to commemorate the founding of People’s Republic of China. Actually the Chinese Independence Day was 21st September 1949, however, the grand ceremony was held at Tiananmen Square on October 1st 1949 to celebrate the forming of the Central People’s Government of the country. Later on October 2nd 1949, the new government passed the ‘Resolution on the National Day of the People’s Republic of China’ and declared October 1st to be the Chinese National Day. Ever then, every October 1st has been grandly celebrated by Chinese people. China celebrates her National Day in many foreign countries too. Like past years, Chinese Ambassador in Bangladesh hosted a reception at the Embassy of China in Bangladesh on 25th September 2017, celebrating the 68th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Bangladesh and China established diplomatic relations on 4th October, 1975 and since then the relationship had been strengthening year by year. Initial cooperation started between Bangladesh Armed Forces and PLA and many Bangladeshi defence personnel were trained in PLA. Besides, many types of equipment of Bangladesh Armed Forces also came from PLA or China. Over the period of time the relationship has now reached in almost all business and cultural sectors, even at strategic level, especially due to and after the historic visit of Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful and popular leader since Deng Xioping, the architect of China’s miraculous economic growth. President Xi Jinping is also the initiator of present China’s great initiative named “One Belt One Road, OBOR in short”. The Xi visit – described by Chinese media as a “milestone” – was the first by any Chinese head of state to Bangladesh in the three decades since President Li Xiannian’s visit in March 1986.
It was September 15, 1988 when I first landed in Beijing being one of the foreign government scholarship students to learn Chinese language. It was between mid 1988 to mid 90 and while I was also at my young age when I had my closest opportunities to know China and its people. Since then I had been visiting China regularly and have seen the changes in the last 29 years. I have seen China from Harbin in the north to Hainandao in the south and also many cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen etc in between and almost whole China accept three provinces. I always cherish my hope to visit those leftover three provinces too. During all my visits to China, I was always surprised to see the continuous developments and changes, and every time I answered to myself, “It is China and they are Chinese and so it is possible!” The achievements of China during last few decades are known to all readers too.
While visiting China and also during my active service I had many opportunities to come in touch with many Chinese leaders and common people in the official as well as private capacities from which I have learned something for myself. In my opinion, major factors for such successful progress of the nation were the political stability, discipline, motivation and willingness of the people to develop the country and of course the special Chinese type of leadership to take the nation ahead. The pride of the Chinese people, “We are Chinese and it is China and of course one China”, was the main motivation behind all success while Communist Party of China (CPC) and Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) provided the basic leadership, security and strength to the nation for achieving the present glory and status.
During all these 29 years, no matter while acting as interpreter, expert, coordinator or attending seminars, events, meetings etc, I also had the opportunities to listen to many top ranking leaders of China and Bangladesh particularly on matters related to Sino- Bangladesh relations and cooperation in general and the understanding between PLA and Bangladesh Armed Forces in particular. While writing this article, I may recall the speech delivered in 1993 by General Zhang Wannian, the then Chief of General Staff (CGS) of PLA who is no more there with us at present, during his visit to Bangladesh where he strongly expressed that relationship between PLA and Bangladesh Armed Forces in particular and Sino- Bangladesh relationship in general to be long time-tested and would remain trusted forever. I also had the opportunities to hear closely the voice of Chinese President Jiang Zemin, President Hu Jintao, Premier Li Peng, Premier Zhu Rongji and other top ranking leaders echoing the spirit of trust and confidence on matters related to Sino Bangladesh relations. I had also been hearng many peace loving common people of both the countries. So, I have learnt and strongly believe now that China Bangladesh relationship is the relationship of long history which now has taken the shape of relationship of connectivity, relationship of mutual trust, confidence and inter dependability and the relationship of future hope as well as continuous cooperation for mutual win-win benefits.
The historic two days, though for 23 hours only, visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping between 14th and 15th October 2016 ushered new era of Bangladesh China relations. It was Chinese President Li Xiannian who once and first visited Bangladesh in March 1986 when Bangladesh China relationship got the first direction and boasting. This time the stage was well set even before President Xi Jingping arrived. An essay signed by President Xi were published in the national dailies of Bangladesh brushing up the shared history between two nations where The President Xi expressed to strengthen Bangladesh China friendship so that it can bear the “golden fruit,” the prosperous future awaiting the both nations. It was very clear that China wants to elevate the bilateral relation with Bangladesh to the level of a long term strategic partnership. Speaking before the press after a meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office, President Xi emphasized that the two countries are “good friends and partners”. “We agreed to elevate China-Bangladesh ties from a comprehensive partnership of cooperation to a strategic partnership of cooperation,” President Xi also said, “We have agreed to increase high level exchanges and strategic communication so that our bilateral relation would continue to move ahead at a higher level,” The two countries have also agreed and declared 2017 as the year of exchange and friendship.
I had been speaking since early 2008 in many forums and had been writing since 2011 in my all articles related to China Bangladesh relations emphasizing the importance of the visit by Chinese President to Bangladesh and as such I personally felt very comfortable in heart and mind in thinking that the second or periodical required boast up is already implemented. Thanks to the Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping for his historic visit and all officials and peace loving people of both nations who had been contributing for this historic and boasting visit.
Taking the advantage of current “golden era” and the ongoing special as well as famous Chinese Xi Initiative of “One Belt One Road”, I would like to suggest and strongly recommend to both the nations for considering the establishment of a “Bangladesh China Complex” having multiple facilities. Such strategic level complex would not only benefit people of Bangladesh and Chinese people staying in Bangladesh but would also contribute to the implementation of the great initiative “One Belt One Road”. It is not that I am suggesting this out of my wild dream but frankly speaking, the same has emerged in my mind from the continuous study and research on my field of work “China Bangladesh Relations”.
The complex, according to my understanding and the real purpose, would need a larger area of land to accommodate its all requirements. There may be a well planned and well organized Training Center to train Bangladeshi employees for becoming suitable to work in Chinese companies and factories located inside Bangladesh and also in China. According to my personal study and research, days are not very far when China would need outside employees for their own need and Bangladesh may be their first choice to import employees due to our long history of working in many other countries like middle east countries, Malaysia, Italy etc. The training center would also need the set up of a Chinese Language Institute.
The proposed Bangladesh China Complex would also need a separate research and information center from where people would benefit themselves for carrying the relationship from present level to the desired level of both nations. Currently there is no common place for the interactions between Bangladeshi and Chinese people located in Bangladesh. Besides, there is no special place available in Bangladesh for the entertainment of Chinese people staying here to entertain in their own way during their stay. So, a special China Bangladesh Club should also be there inside the said complex with all types of club facilities like standard accommodations, restaurant, games, swimming, entertainment, fishing, gymnasium, and library etc. The dreamed complex may also have a commercial block to facilitate users regarding communication and commercial matters, small scale exhibition hall, conference/ meeting rooms etc. The complex would also include a special type of Cultural Center displaying the heritage of both nations for the visitors. Details may be worked out by expert persons of both the nations if agreed conceptually where I may also try to contribute more if required.
Bangladesh may find and offer a suitable land near Dhaka while China may do the funding under the great initiative “One Belt One Road”. Both Bangladesh Armed Forces and PLA may be involved during the implementation of such mega project as both are very expert organizations for respective national developments and also contributing for many similar projects. Initial management and operation of the complex may be with Bangladesh Armed Forces while subsequent management committee may take care of its subsequent functioning. Project though may be funded by governments of both the countries but may operate subsequently by its own income generating club and other facilities or activities. Similar complex may also be established in China too.
It is assumed that such Bangladesh China Complex would not only benefit ground level peace loving people of Bangladesh and China but would also contribute significantly for the overall relationship of both nations for achieving the strategic level partnership. Besides, the flags of cooperation and understanding between PLA and Bangladesh Armed Forces would also always fly high. Long live the friendship between Bangladesh Armed Forces and the PLA, long live Bangladesh China relations.
Lt Col (Retd) Md Shahadat Hossain, psc, MBA, MDS,
Diploma in Chinese Language from Beijing, China is a Freelance Promoter of China Bangladesh relations in general and Chinese language & culture in Bangladesh in particular who may be reached at email firstname.lastname@example.org and cell phone number +88 01716097874