A Chinese newspaper today took exception to a Pakistani scholar’s remarks that Pakistan will become a “colony of China” once the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is operationalised, describing it as an example of the deceptive use of history. “Concerns that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will result in colonialism in Pakistan by China are not new and still wrong,” an article in the state-run Global Times said today, countering top Pakistani political economist S Akbar Zaidi’s assertion that the project may bring some power and jobs in the short run but would enslave the country in the long run.
“People often use warnings from history, but those warnings can sometimes be misplaced. The CPEC- a flagship project under the Belt and Road (B&R) initiative – would be a new form of colonialism seems to be an obvious example of the deceptive use of history,” the article said. The Global Times article while refuting Zaidi’s charge said “of course, only time will tell whether or not there will be a repeat of colonialism under the B&R”.
“But irresponsible use of history is misleading for the public’s understanding of the CPEC. So far, at least based on what China has done in Pakistan, it is hard to link the CPEC project with China trying to exploit Pakistan economically. It’s also hard to understand how some infrastructure projects could threaten a country’s sovereignty,” it said. “The accusation is essentially a conspiracy theory which, without any foundation, presents China as an evil investor and treats the countries relying on Chinese investment to prop up the local economy as brainless recipients,” the article said.