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Diplomatic relationship of China and Bangladesh

 

Rayhan Ahmed Topader:

 

Over the past 45 years, the relationship between China and Bangladesh has been developing, with mutual cooperation and friendship on both sides. In the international arena, Bangladesh has, to the best of its capacity, maintained unwavering support for the One China Policy and China’s peaceful rise.The Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was associated with China during his political life. He travelled to China in 1952 for an international conference. During the visit, he met Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, the heroes of the Chinese Revolution. He was impressed by New China. After the independence of Bangladesh, the work of establishing diplomatic relations with China under the leadership of Bangabandhu began after overcoming many adversities. Sadly,

Bangabandhu was killed before formal diplomatic relations were initiated, but undoubtedly, it was in his hands that the work of establishing diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and China began. Last year, the present Chinese Ambassador Li Jiming and all diplomats from the Chinese Embassy visited the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum. At that time, they paid homage to Bangabandhu. The curator of the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum said that the Chinese embassy was the first foreign mission of Bangladesh, whose diplomats had visited the historic building together. China and Bangladesh have been enjoying a well-shaped relationship rooted deep in history. Since the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, Bangladesh and China have been maintaining a remarkable diplomatic relationship as two neighboring countries. Since the inception of this relationship in 1975, both the countries have attempted to make it bilaterally positive and fruitful.

But several political and diplomatic visits, contacts and friendly exchanges took place between administrative agencies, parliamentary bodies, political leaders, cultural troops, journalists, business groups and NGO’s of the two countries during this time span. Within the fold of this good interrelation many bilateral socio-cultural deals have been carried so far. With the government initiatives many numerous organs of states have been participating to establish strong bilateral relationship between them. For establishing social and cultural relationship between the two countries various friendship societies like; Bangladesh-China Friendship Society, Bangladeshi Students Society from China and China’s Foreign Relation Friendship Society have played very significant roles in enhancing the friendly ties between the two neighboring countries and their peoples. The aim of this current research is to examine the role of various friendship organizations in enhancing Bangladesh-China social and cultural relationship, and thereby ensuring friendly ties between the two countries. The main objective of this study is to explore the nature, activity and influence of various friendship societies active in Bangladesh and China to promote the social and cultural deals of the both states. Key Notes: Bangladesh-China Relations, Social and Cultural Relations, Friendship Organization. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 45 years ago, the two countries have always respected each other and treated each other as equals, enhanced political mutual trust and deepened mutually beneficial cooperation that brings tangible benefits to the two peoples, he noted. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, China and Bangladesh have stuck together through thick and thin, helped each other and fought against the pandemic side by side, writing a new chapter of bilateral friendship.

This year, China has also offered zero-tariff treatment to 97 percent of Bangladesh’s exports by adding 5,161 more items to the existing list of 3,095 duty-free products. With some $26 billion Chinese investments and $38 billion funding commitments, Bangladesh is one of the largest recipients of China’s massive infrastructure project.The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), President Xi’s top priority initiative, aims firm up China’s global influence through rail, maritime and road links from Asia to Europe and Africa in a revival of ancient Silk Road trading routes. Bangladesh has joined BRI, saying it is ready to be part of any initiative that is aimed at promoting economy, connectivity, peace and sustainability.India, which has yet to join it, and its ally US, however, are critical of the initiative. They said Chinese financing of projects lead to debt-trap of the recipients. Dhaka maintains that it is careful and makes sure that the country does not fall into debt trap.For his part, President Hamid in the message said the Bangladesh-China relationship is developing rapidly and has covered cooperation in key areas, to which Bangladesh attaches great importance. He expressed his deep appreciation for China’s continuous support for Bangladesh in its socio-economic development progress, adding that he believes the close and friendly relationship between the two countries will continue to deepen in the future. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also exchanged congratulatory messages with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina.

In his message, Li said China is willing to deepen practical cooperation with Bangladesh in various fields and promote the steady and sustainable development of the China-Bangladesh strategic partnership of cooperation to better benefit the two countries and their people.

Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina said the strategic partnership of cooperation between Bangladesh and China has been developed from the two countries’ time-tested friendship and cooperation.The strengthened Bangladesh-China cooperation has unleashed enormous potential in maintaining peace, security and stability in the region.Both within and beyond these countries, meanwhile, policy too often transposes Western solutions and is not well adapted to local realities.This is especially notable in two strategic regions: Southeastern, Central, and Eastern Europe; and South Asia. China’s economic and political profile has expanded unusually quickly in these two regions, but many countries lack a deep bench of local experts who can match analysis of the domestic implications of Chinese activism to policy recommendations that reflect domestic political and economic ground truth.We began by holding workshops, so that influencers across countries could share experiences and compare notes. Invited participants included policymakers, experts, journalists, and others all with deep local knowledge, steeped in their countries’ politics, economies, and civil societies. In Europe, the four countries were Georgia, Greece, Hungary, and Romania, and in South Asia, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Cross-national discussions among these regional participants aimed to raise awareness, discuss the implications of China’s growing activism in their countries, and compare notes on the diverse ways in which these various countries had managed the rapid influx of Chinese capital, programs, people, technology, and other sources of influence.After holding several workshops for each region.

China is the world’s largest trader and manufacturer and it sits on a significant pool of foreign exchange reserves and capital that countries in all three regions will invariably wish to tap. For this reason, these surveys aimed to identify, distinguish, and analyze only those specific activities that could constrict options, reduce the scope of choice, and reward a narrow interest group or elite.The second of the three dimensions is crucial because China frequently couples its use of economic and political carrots and levers to broad-ranging public relations outreach. When China floods a country not just with investment but also with strategic messages designed to influence public opinion, there is often little space left for counter narratives, especially in countries that lack independent media or have weak civil societies. The third of the three dimensions is critical because in the most vulnerable countries of these two regions, civil society and academia are often too fragile to provide balanced coverage of the activism of external powers. In some cases, Chinese funding and so-called united front tactics have shaped domestic narratives. Beijing, like other outside powers, cultivates friendly voices in nearly every country. But in some countries, there are few counterweights.By exploring all three dimensions of Chinese influence simultaneously, Carnegie’s initiative has aimed to generate a clearer and well-balanced picture of Chinese activism and messaging in Europe and South Asia, while fostering a cross-national network of influencers who will continue to compare notes, learn across national boundaries, and spur a genuinely regional conversation about China’s rise and its far-reaching implications.

In Bangladesh, a Chinese company has been allowed to run the third phase trial of the Sinovac coronavirus vaccine. Under the pragmatic initiative of Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has sent medical accessories, including masks, gowns, caps and gloves, to China. The Prime Minister also wrote a letter to the Chinese President Xi Jinping. In return, the Chinese government sent 10 members of a medical expert team to support Bangladesh’s fight against Covid-19. The medical experts have provided consultations regarding pandemic control, patients’ treatment and laboratory tests, and guidance and training for Bangladeshi medical professionals.China has also provided Bangladesh with over three million surgical and N-95 masks, over 110,000 sets of personal protective equipment and a large number of test kits, thermometers, ventilators, and sanitisers. Moreover, the Beijing-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) said it would lend USD 100 million to Bangladesh to help the country deal with the pandemic.The Chinese president has outlined the vision of the Chinese dream, which is to achieve the great renewal of the Chinese nation. The steady process of attaining the Chinese dream will not only benefit China, but also the world at large. As President Xi Jinping pointed out, the Chinese dream of national renewal is about the pursuit of happiness by every Chinese citizen, and it has much in common with the dreams of the people of Bangladesh, as we are on the way to achieving the goal of becoming a middle income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041.We are hopeful that Bangladesh and China, with joint efforts, will be able to develop and maintain practices and policies that will make these dreams come true.

 

Writer and Columnist

raihan567@yahoo.com