By Qirfiraz Siddiqui, a Pakistani scholar, currently living in California, United States
Prior to the 1949 revolution for around 150 years, China was surrounded by Western colonial powers, who forced the country to make unjust trade concessions & political agreements that favored western colonial interests.
Accordingly, present day China, a country with over a billion people, has a coastline, less than the coastline of New Zealand, whose population is less than 5 million.
A vast majority of the Chinese populace remain landlocked, which stands as a grave injustice of historic proportions.
In the 21st Century, modern, emerging China has worked out a beneficial way to undo the historic injustice, which is called the "Belt & Road Initiative" that envisages development of overland routes, through a "Silk Road Economic Belt", leading to Eurasia, and to Pacific & Indian Oceans & Arabian Sea.
The program would make fuller use of existing shipping facilities, and development of new ports & terminals in the South China Sea, by establishing a "21st Century Maritime Silk Road."
Participating small nations can connect with economic corridors that are developed, alongside major roads, so locals can taste the fruits of prosperity via trade & technology platforms.
China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a group of projects closely linked to the "Belt & Road." China's Xinjiang Ugyur Autonomous Region is linked by road to Pakistan's Arabian Sea port of Gwadar that lies on the Maritime route under the "B&R" Initiave.
Gwadar is strategically located at the mouth of Strait of Hormuz, from where all of oil supplies from the gulf pass through and oil trade is the bloodline for the Middle East.
Additionally, there is no serious history of conflicts between the Muslim world and China. In one of his sayings (Hadith), Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) mentions China in a positive context while instructing believers to seek knowledge even if they must go to China.
Beijing can take the Initiative, by starting Human Resources Development Centers (HRDC), along the the Belt in Pakistani provinces of Balochistan & Pakhtoon Khwah, and open factories to employ workers trained by HRDCs.
The factories can utilize natural resources to produce spare parts, or function as support centers to manufacture machineries, which will be exported from China to the the Middle East. Once, people's livelihood and prosperity is linked to "the Belt", they will be more likely to guard it.
Meanwhile, Silicon is a fashionable term these days. We have "Silicon Valley", "Silicon Alley" and other similar names. CPEC may be built as a "Silicon Corridor," since the expected trade on the corridor will be directly or indirectly related to the electronics & semiconductor sector.
Part of CPEC, comprise of Karakoram Highway, which is known as, "Silk Highway" (Shahrah-e-Resham), so it is appropriate to combine the historical name with a modern context, let's call it the - "Silk & Silicon Corridor."
【Qirfiraz Siddiqui, a Pakistani scholar, currently living in California, United States】
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