Beijjng: Recently, Pakistani and Chinese media and social media platforms were buzzed with a unique scandal.
This time the perpetuator of the scandals tried to hit the Pakistan-China social and culturalengagements that sped up after the speedy growth of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the CPEC, an important and most vibrant component of Belt and Road initiative, the BRI.
The marriages of Pakistani girls with Chinese men and Chinese girls with Pakistani boys has a long history, spanning over decades.
The geographical structure of both China and Pakistan, that links both nations through the Silk Road, also known as the Karakoram Highway is an important landmark of bringing about cultural and social interactions between people of Pakistan and China. China’s Xinjiang province and Pakistan’s Northern areas, mainly comprising Gilgit, Baltistan, Hunza etc have been important hubs of bringing people to people contacts between two exemplary friendly nations. In fact citizens of Northern areas of Pakistan were provided special travel documents that would enable them to travel to China even without visa.
In ancient times, both Chinese and Pakistanis have been interacting with each other on the sidelines of doing trade through Silk Road. However, the construction of Karakoram Highway brought a great influx of both Chinese and Pakistani workers and engineers to this Pakistan-China border vicinity. During this period, where Pakistan-China Friendship touched new dimensions, there the cultural and social similarities brought a great room for binding family ties between the people from both sides of border and thus bringing the 2 nations even closer. Many Chinese men, mainly from Xinjiang married to Pakistani women of Gilgit areas while a reasonable number of men from Pakistan’s Northern areas found their life partners from areas of Xinjiang province of China and they lived happily ever after.
On the other side, with the passage of time, many young Pakistani male and female Pakistani students, belonging to different ethnic groups and faiths started finding China as the best foreign destinations for advanced studies and thus started taking admissions in Chinese universities and colleges. Many of these young Pakistanis ended up in finding life partners in China and the friendships with classmates of many culminated in becoming life partners. There were many cases of such successful marriages while at the same time few ended up in broken ties. However, this issue never became a matter of media attention or some sensational matter. The history is witness to a huge number of marriages between Chinese and Pakistani youngsters, living amazing married lives with kids and kin.
However, after the CPEC was launched successfully in 2015, the Pakistan-China socio-cultural ties also braced for a new era. The Social media platforms like Wechat, Facebook, Weibo and Whatsapp etc came as key factors to bring youngsters from both countries even closer and by knowing more about each other’s country and culture, interaction and people to people contact started hitting new heights, opening up new avenues for enhancing the traditional friendship. “Currently around 30,000 Pakistani young students are studying in different Chinese educational institutions while a reasonable number of Chinese are also showing great interest in learning more about Pakistani culture and language. This again provided room for selecting life partners for both sides. ”
Amidst all this, some unscrupulous and ill-intended matchmakers from both sides, found the situation to be exploited for financial gains. It remains a fact that Chinese laws do not allow opening up of cross cultural marriage bureaus or matchmaking units, yet Beijing also does not ban individuals to marry foreigners and there are millions of such marriages on record.
It is a universal fact that the matchmakers across the world lie a lot to both families about each other, just make the match and get their commission money by hook or by crook. However, in case of Pakistan, since there were certain religious restrictions for marriages as well, these unauthorized matchmakers targeted mainly Christian girls’ families and introduced average Chinese men as very rich back home. But this was just in cases of the matches being arranged these illegal matchmaking groups. There were many genuine marriages between Chinese and Pakistani nationals, taking place at main cities like Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore and in these scenarios, couples selecting each other directly and thus these were very encouraging signs for future enhancement of Pakistan-China relations.
Since there is a huge media lobby that put under payrolls to scandalize everything possible to dent Pak-China relations and ultimately to damage image of Chinese people in Pakistan to create obstacles for smooth growth of CPEC, this minor issue of matchmaking rings was given maximum media sensation, both by local as well as Western media .
These media mechanisms, that were tasked by their paymasters to look out for anything that could be exploited to damage CPEC and Pak-China ties, once got a clue of Pakistan-China marriages by unauthorized and unlawful matchmakers rings, operating jointly from China and Pakistan, let all their horses to run to generate maximum propagation. In bid to achieve the given task, they tried to transform the issue of illegal matchmaking rings into the matter of human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution and unlawful smuggling of human organs. In their so called investigative media reports, despite having unlimited funds and unlimited resources, they could manage to only create a scandal but could not prove the same. They, both from home and abroad, could at no point prove that any Pakistani women married to a Chinese national through these matchmakers was put into to prostitution or any of her body organ was removed. Maximum they could prove was that the matchmakers were operating illegally and unlawfully.
Even a very hostile foreign news agency, that launched special investigations into the matter and interviewed many concerned persons, could not prove at any stage that these marriages were conducted for organ removal or prostitution. Maximum that emerged out of their reports was that the grooms, which were told to be very rich back home, were found not that rich after the brides reached London. The other element surfaced was that the Pakistani brides were facing huge difficulties in adjusting due to lack of knowledge about the language and social norms in China.
However, both Chinese and Pakistani governments showed no tolerance in this regard and crackdowns were conducted both in China and Pakistan and in fact Pakistan and China formed joint mechanism to eliminate the menace of unlawful matchmakers and many arrests were made.
Both Pakistani and Chinese are known as the best friends of each other and the Pakistan-China Friendship is termed as a relationship that is sweeter than Honey, deeper than the oceans and stronger than the mountains. The marriages between Pakistanis and Chinese are nothing objectionable nor it is a failed experience. However the motivated media conspiracies into this matter could never succeed if certain clarifications and precautions are kept in place and life partners are chosen directly and not through matchmakers.