Tag: china


China, officially the People’s Republic of China (PRC), is a unitary sovereign state in East Asia and the world’s most populous country, with a population of over 1.381 billion. The state is governed by the Communist Party of China and its capital is Beijing. It exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing) and two mostly self-governing special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau), also claiming sovereignty over Taiwan. The country’s major urban areas include Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Hong Kong. China is a great power and a major regional power within Asia, and has been characterized as a potential superpower.

Hong Kong China

Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometres (3.7 million square miles), China is the world’s second-largest state by land area[19] and either the third- or fourth-largest by total area, depending on the method of measurement.[i] China’s landscape is vast and diverse, ranging from forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts in the arid north to subtropical forests in the wetter south. The Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separate China from much of South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world, respectively, run from the Tibetan Plateau to the densely populated eastern seaboard. China’s coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 14,500 kilometers (9,000 mi) long and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East China and South China seas.

China emerged as one of the world’s earliest civilizations in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China’s political system was based on hereditary monarchies known as dynasties, beginning with the Xia dynasty (c. 2070 BCE). Since 221 BCE, when the Qin dynasty conquered the other largest six states to form the first unified Chinese empire, China has then expanded, fractured and re-unified numerous times in the following millennia. In 1912, the Republic of China (ROC) replaced the last dynasty and ruled the Chinese mainland until 1949, when it was defeated by the communist People’s Liberation Army in the Chinese Civil War. The Communist Party established the People’s Republic of China in Beijing on 1 October 1949, while the ROC government relocated to Taiwan with its present de facto temporary capital in Taipei. Both the ROC and PRC continue to claim to be the legitimate government of all China, though the latter has more recognition in the world and controls more territory.

China had the largest economy in the world for much of the last two thousand years, during which it has seen cycles of prosperity and decline. Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China has become one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies. As of 2016[update], it is the world’s second-largest economy by nominal GDP and largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). China is also the world’s largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world’s largest standing army and second-largest defense budget. The PRC is a member of the United Nations, as it replaced the ROC as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council in 1971. China is also a member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the WTO, APEC, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the BCIM and the G-20.


Mushahid Hussain Syed talks over CPEC

Increasing his efforts in dispelling Indian concerns over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, who is the Chairman of Pakistan’s Parliamentary Committee on CPEC, has responded to questions shared for an email interview by Economic Times. The Senator comments on Pakistan’s motivation for CPEC as entirely based on socioeconomic benefits, which is open for all states to cooperate on and share. He says that Pakistan and China have collectively welcomed India, and other states, to cooperate on CPEC, and it would be in the larger interest of the region to do so. The interview further clarifies that CPEC, or OBOR, are development agendas laid out by mutual consultation, and are not set to subjugate states to Chinese control, instead for mutually benefiting from China’s peaceful rise.

When Pakistan was a member of US-backed military pacts and gave bases to the Americans during the Cold War, we took decisions independently as any sovereign country should, says Mushahid Husain.China Pakistan Economic Corridor

Pakistan rejects India’s assertion that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor violates India’s sovereignty since the project runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, said Mushahid Hussain, chairman of Pakistan’s parliamentary committee on CPECBSE -4.45 %. In an email interview to Economic Times , chairman of Pakistan’s Senate Defence Committee, said he hoped that the project would prove to be a positive influence on bilateral political relations. He assured that there are no Chinese military personnel in Pakistan, and neither will there be an in the future.

How will the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor impact Pakistan’s relations with India?
Hopefully, CPEC should be a positive influence on politics between Pakistan and India because it is all about connectivity between countries in the region. If India can be part of SAARC or the TAPI (Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India) pipeline, supporting CPEC would provide continuity in regional cooperation and connectivity. CPEC has immeasurably enhanced Pakistan’s leverage and clout in the region.

Do you see any possibility of India participating in CPEC?
India seems unlikely to participate in CPEC for two reasons. First, India sees China as a potential competitor and feels upstaged by this mega initiative of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ of President Xi Jinping, of which CPEC is the flagship pilot project. Second, India, under Prime Minister Modi, is still confused over what kind of Pakistan policy it should pursue.

Many people have expressed concern that CPEC will give China de facto control over Pakistan…
Two facts are noteworthy. When Pakistan was a member of US-backed military pacts and gave bases to the Americans during the Cold War, we took decisions independently as any sovereign country should. When the US tilted towards India in 1962, Pakistan dared to earn the ire of the mighty US by befriending the worst enemy (China) of our erstwhile ally then. Second, China is probably the only country in history which is making a transition from a regional power to a great power without resorting to force, military aggression or occupation of outside territory.

There are no Chinese military personnel in Pakistan for any purpose, CPEC or non CPEC! And neither will there be any in the future.

How is Pakistan negotiating its partnership with Afghanistan and Iran in CPEC considering their close ties with India?

We have encouraged them to join CPEC as they are close to China too. Recently, Iran participated in the first international CPEC conference in Gwadar in December 2016, and we feel Chah Bahar & Gwadar can have a lot of complementarity. Our Main Line 1 railway upgradation project, under CPEC, will run from Karachi to Torkham, and hopefully, extend into Afghanistan.

Recently Chinese media compared Kashmir under Pakistan with Taiwan. Do you agree with this comparison?
The Chinese media is correct in this comparison on two counts. First, both Taiwan and Kashmir are unresolved issues left over from history, whose respective resolution (Taiwan’s return to China like Hong Kong and Macao, and Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination under UN resolutions) would immeasurably contribute to regional peace, security and stability. Second, notwithstanding the failure to resolve Taiwan and Kashmir, this should not be an impediment to regional economic cooperation and connectivity. Regarding Kashmir being part of CPEC, it is important for Occupied Kashmir to be part of this emerging regional trend of corridors, culture and connectivity, to which it naturally belongs and longs to be part of, just as Azad Kashmir already is.

Do you think resolution of Kashmir issue and CPEC will remain exclusive to each other?
CPEC would help lessen political tensions by bringing about economic cooperation, providing for a conducive political and economic context to the resolution of Kashmir, since this will open up opportunities for one fifth of humanity that resides in South Asia to blossom with their latent creativity unleashed.

Is China’s OBOR initiative involving more than 60 countries defining the new world order. Is Pakistan on the right side of history now?
Yes, Pakistan is very much on the right side of history as the balance of economic and political power is shifting from the West to the East, the West is in decline, the 21st Century is the ‘Asian Century’ marked by the resurgence of Asia with fuelled by the rise of China, which is Pakistan’s best friend. Till 2050, at least, the One Belt, One Road initiative will be decisive in determining the global balance of economic and political power, and the kind of World Order that is now emerging: globalization driven by multilateralism in a multipolar world. It is India, which may be left out in the cold. Pakistan, given its location and role, is pivotal in this emerging geopolitical scenario.

J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has suggested opening of old silk route from Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir to central Asia. Do you see this as a reaction to CPEC or both the projects can converge at some point in time?
Ms Mufti’s proposal is inspired by CPEC as Kashmir was key to connectivity amongst cultures and countries in the past. The landmark Yashwant Sinha report on Kashmir of January 2017 also says that most of the Kashmiri people want to be part of CPEC.

Keeping in view the sensitivities of India-Pakistan relations, how do you suggest the meetings between India, Pakistan and China can happen?
Mutual interests would drive such discussions. If Pakistan, India and the US can meet, why not the three neighbors?

Has there been any bilateral meeting between India and Pakistan over CPEC?
MH: Not yet!

How is Pakistan taking care of environmental costs of the CPEC projects?
Our relevant departments are engaged in planning on this count and last year, we also signed an MOU with the IUCN precisely on this.

Do you think Dubai ports and subsequent trade would be affected due to the development of CPEC and that is why India is getting closer to UAE?
India is getting closer to UAE in a bid to ‘isolate and contain Pakistan’, given the obsession of Pakistan in the Indian security establishment, which is mortally scared of CPEC since it means the Pakistan-China bond is stronger and deeper than before. There is so much trade in the region that Dubai port won’t be affected by the emergence of new ports like Gwadar or Chah Bahar or Hambantota or Chittagong.

Will CPEC help to boost the new cold war between US and Russia and thus re-structure the regional friendships as well?
The new Cold War between Moscow & Washington has nothing to do with CPEC, as it predates CPEC and it’s currently centred on Europe, with a focus on Ukraine and the NATO expansion in Eastern Europe, based on an obsession with Putin. However, after the Indo-American intimacy where India has allowed America access to land, sea and air bases, the Russians are warming up to Pakistan as a reaction, so regional relationships are being restructured.

Some experts in India have termed CPEC as ‘corridor of uncertainty’ while others says it is the ‘new Marshall Plan’. What does CPEC, entail for central and south Asian region in this context?
In the post 9/11 world, after failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Obama Administration came up with two flawed, still-born concepts: in July 2011, Hillary Clinton talked of a ‘new Silk Road’ while speaking in Chennai, and in November 2011, Obama talked of a ‘pivot to Asia’, code words for containment of China.

CPEC as the flagship of President Xi Jinping’s OBOR is a contrasting vision for Asia based on cooperation through regional connectivity that is beneficial for all, rather than confrontation based on military might or hegemony. In ‘The Atlantic’ issue of May 2009, Robert Kaplan had referred to Gwadar as the “Rotterdam of the Arabian Sea” and this seems to be turning into reality now. If CPEC is the flagship of OBOR, then Gwadar is definitely the centrepiece of CPEC.


China–Pakistan relations

China–Pakistan relations began in 1950 when Pakistan was among the first countries to end official diplomatic relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan and recognize the PRC. Since then, both countries have placed considerable importance on the maintenance of an extremely close and supportive relationship and the two countries have regularly exchanged high-level visits resulting in a variety of agreements. The PRC has provided economic, military and technical assistance to Pakistan and each considers the other a close strategic ally. The relationship has recently been the subject of renewed attention due to the publication of a new book, The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics, which is the first extensive treatment of the relationship since the 1970s.

Bilateral relations have evolved from an initial Chinese policy of neutrality to a partnership with a smaller but militarily powerful Pakistan. Diplomatic relations were established in 1950, military assistance began in 1966, a strategic alliance was formed in 1972 and economic co-operation began in 1979. China has become Pakistan’s largest supplier of arms and its third-largest trading partner. Recently, both nations have decided to cooperate in improving Pakistan’s civil nuclear power sector.

According to Pew Research Center in 2014, Pakistanis have the most favorable view of China after China itself. Maintaining close relations with China is a central part of Pakistan’s foreign policy. China supported Pakistan’s opposition to the Soviet Union’s intervention in Afghanistan and is perceived by Pakistan as a regional counterweight to NATO and the United States. In addition, Pakistan was one of only two countries, alongside Cuba, to offer crucial support for the PRC in after the Tiananmen protests of 1989. China and Pakistan also share close military relations, with China supplying a range of modern armaments to the Pakistani defense forces. China supports Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir while Pakistan supports China on the issues of Xinjiang, Tibet, and Taiwan. Military cooperation has deepened with joint projects producing armaments ranging from fighter jets to guided missile frigates.

Chinese cooperation with Pakistan has reached economic high points, with substantial Chinese investment in Pakistani infrastructural expansion including the Pakistani deep-water port at Gwadar. Both countries have an ongoing free trade agreement. Pakistan has served as China’s main bridge between Muslim countries. Pakistan also played an important role in bridging the communication gap between China and the West by facilitating the 1972 Nixon visit to China. The relations between Pakistan and China have been described by Pakistan’s ambassador to China as higher than the mountains, deeper than the oceans, stronger than steel, dearer than eyesight, sweeter than honey, and so on. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Pakistan is China’s biggest arms buyer, counting for nearly 47% of Chinese arms exports. According to a 2014 BBC World Service Poll, 75% of Pakistanis view China’s influence positively with only 15% expressing a negative view. In the Asia Pacific region, Chinese people hold third most positive opinions of Pakistan’s influence in the world, behind Indonesia and Pakistan itself.


Afiun (Opium Poppy)

Poppy flower

Opium or Afiun is source of many chemical ingredients found wild in Pakistan.

The Origins of Opium

The earliest reference to opium growth and use is in 3,400 B.C. when the opium poppy was cultivated in lower Mesopotamia (Southwest Asia). The Sumerians referred to it as Hul Gil, the “joy plant.” The Sumerians soon passed it on to the Assyrians, who in turn passed it on to the Egyptians. As people learned of the power of opium, demand for it increased. Many countries began to grow and process opium to expand its availability and to decrease its cost. Its cultivation spread along the Silk Road, from the Mediterranean through Asia and finally to China where it was the catalyst for the Opium Wars of the mid-1800s.

Farmer harvesting poppies

From Seed to Sale

Today, heroin’s long journey to drug addicts begins with the planting of opium poppy seeds. Opium is grown mainly by impoverished farmers on small plots in remote regions of the world. It flourishes in dry, warm climates and the vast majority of opium poppies are grown in a narrow, 4,500-mile stretch of mountains extending across central Asia from Turkey through Pakistan and Burma. Recently, opium has been grown in Latin America, notably Colombia and Mexico. The farmer takes his crop of opium to the nearest village where he will sell it to the dealer who offers him the best price.


The Silk Road

The Silk Road is an 18th-century term for a series of interconnected routes that ran from Europe to China. These trade routes developed between the empires of Persia and Syria on the Mediterranean coast and the Indian kingdoms of the East. By the late Middle Ages the routes extended from Italy in the West to China in the East and to Scandinavia in the North. Opium was one of the products traded along the Silk Road.

Opium wars in the mid-1800s

Opium Wars

In order to fund their ever-increasing desire for Chinese produced tea, Britain, through their control of the East India Company, began smuggling Indian opium to China. This resulted in a soaring addiction rate among the Chinese and led to the Opium Wars of the mid-1800s. Subsequent Chinese immigration to work on the railroads and the gold rush brought opium smoking to America.

Opium den mid-1800s

Opium Dens

Opium dens were established as sites to buy and sell opium. Dens were commonly found in China, Southeast Asia, the United States, and parts of Europe. Chinese immigrants came to the United States in the Mid-1800s to work for railroads and the Gold Rush and brought the habit of opium smoking with them. Opium dens sprang up in San Francisco’s Chinatown and spread eastward to New York.

Chinese antique opium pipe set, ca. 1821

Chinese Style Opium Pipes

This antique opium pipe set, ca. 1821, highlights the exquisite details that could be afforded by rich Chinese opium smokers.

Opium smoking equipment

Opium Smoking Equipment

In addition to the traditional pipe, opium smokers could also use a lamp for heating the opium as well as various tools to manipulate the gummy substance.

Scales and the elephant-shaped gold weights

Weights and Scales

These scales and the elephant-shaped gold weights were used to accurately measure opium for sale.


Opium plant anatamy illustration

Opium-An Ancient Medicine

Opium was known to ancient Greek and Roman physicians as a powerful pain reliever. It was also used to induce sleep and to give relief to the bowels. Opium was even thought to protect the user from being poisoned. Its pleasurable effects were also noted. The trading and production of opium spread from the Mediterranean to China by the 15th century. Opium has many derivatives, including morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and heroin. Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé.



In 1803, morphine, the principal ingredient in opium, was extracted from opium resin. Morphine is ten times more powerful than processed opium, quantity for quantity. Hailed as a miracle drug, it was widely prescribed by physicians in the mid-1800s. Morphine is one of the most effective drugs known for the relief of severe pain and remains the standard against which new pain relievers are measured.



Codeine, another component of opium, is medically prescribed for the relief of moderate pain and cough suppression. It has less pain-killing ability than morphine and is usually taken orally. As a cough suppressant, it is found in a number of liquid preparations.



First synthesized from morphine in 1874, the Bayer Company of Germany introduced heroin for medical use in 1898. Physicians remained unaware of its addiction potential for years, but by 1903, heroin abuse had risen to alarming levels in the United States. All use of heroin was made illegal by federal law in 1924.



Oxycodone is synthesized from thebaine, a third component of opium. Like morphine, it is used for pain relief. Oxycodone is taken orally. When abused, the tablets are crushed and snorted, or dissolved in water and injected.


Opium: A Schedule II Drug

Oxycodone is synthesized from thebaine, a third component of opium. Like morphine, it is used for pain relief. Oxycodone is taken orally. When abused, the tablets are crushed and snorted, or dissolved in water and injected.

Current Medical Use

Opium (and the majority of its derivatives, with the exception of heroin which is Schedule I), is listed as a Schedule II controlled substance because of its medical benefit but potential for abuse. However, various opium derivatives manufactured in combination with other medical substances (like Tylenol with Codeine) may be assigned to Schedule III, IV, or V under the Controlled Substances Act


Poppies as Food

Besides being used for drug manufacturing, the poppy is also the source of poppy seeds which are greatly prized as a food source. Items such as poppy seed bagels and lemon poppy seed cake are sought after for their delicious flavors.

Poppy seeds

Poppy Seeds for Cooking

Poppy seeds for use in cooking can be purchased at local markets. The majority of poppy seeds used for food come from the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. Although these seeds do have opium content, the amount used for cooking purposes is extremely small. Consumption of poppy seeds can produce a positive result on drug tests.

Poppy garden

Poppies for the Garden

Poppy flowers come in a variety of colors and are prized for the beauty they bring to the landscape. In several states, various species of poppies are planted along the sides of highways for erosion control, for example, the red corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas). Although the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) has the highest concentration of narcotics, all poppies in the Papaver genus do contain some amount of narcotic.

Poppy seed perennial packets

Growing Poppies

Poppy seed packets can be purchased at many local shops that sell gardening supplies.