Bangladesh-China Relations in 2023: Issues and Directions

In 2023, there have been significant transformations in the global political, economic, and security landscape. The world is gradually emerging from the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, with nations actively striving to recover from economic downturns. The repercussions of the Ukraine war persist, posing threats to global food and energy security. Some major nations are imposing unilateral sanctions, exacerbating the challenges faced by the Global South. The ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel has turned Gaza into a harrowing place, where human conscience and morality are continuously disregarded. The prevailing circumstances present unprecedented challenges to the overarching themes of the era—peace and development. Against this backdrop, Bangladesh and China have maintained a consistently amicable relationship, particularly in the year 2023.

Bangladesh and China regard each other as steadfast friends, establishing a strategic partnership during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Dhaka in 2016. Diplomatic ties were initially formed in January 1976, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to China in June 2014 further solidified the relationship. Notably, defense cooperation is a key pillar, with China being the exclusive signatory to a defense agreement and the primary arms supplier to Bangladesh. The Bangladesh defense forces are equipped with various Chinese military assets, including tanks, missile launchers, fighter aircraft, and other weapons systems, with the recent addition of two Ming class submarines. The strength of the partnership is also evident in development cooperation, where China plays a significant role as a major infrastructure development partner for Bangladesh. Chinese involvement spans the construction of bridges, roads, railway tracks, airports, and power plants. Developmental assistance is largely in the form of lines of credit. During President Jinping’s 2016 visit, China committed to providing $24 billion in economic assistance to Bangladesh, primarily as lines of credit for twenty-four projects. In the economic domain, the bilateral trade between Bangladesh and China has experienced substantial growth, surpassing $20.0 billion in the financial year 2021–22, a considerable increase from $3.3 billion in 2009–10. Additionally, Chinese companies have heightened their participation in Bangladesh’s development projects, contributing goods and services exceeding $22 billion during the specified period. Notably, a wide range of products from Bangladesh benefits from zero tariffs in China, as outlined by the Tariff Commission of the State Council in June 2020. This extensive collaboration highlights the multifaceted and deepening ties between Bangladesh and China across various sectors.

This comprehensive overview will delve into various facets, including security, diplomacy, economy, and people-to-people connectivity, to provide a more nuanced understanding of the dynamic relationship between Bangladesh and China.

The partnership of cooperation between China and Bangladesh was further advanced in 2023, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Chinese President Xi Jinping engaging in face-to-face discussions for the first time in four years. This interaction injected renewed and robust momentum into the development of China-Bangladesh relations.

Security and Diplomacy

President Xi Jinping Meets with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at BRICS Summit

On the afternoon of August 23, 2023, President Xi Jinping engaged in discussions with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg. Xi Jinping highlighted the enduring traditional friendship between Bangladesh and China, emphasizing that the elevation of their relationship to a strategic cooperative partnership in 2016 has paved the way for deeper collaboration. Acknowledging the critical development stages both countries are undergoing, Xi Jinping expressed China’s commitment to aligning development strategies with Bangladesh. The aim is to enhance practical cooperation across various sectors, elevating the strategic cooperative partnership to new heights and delivering more benefits to the people of both nations. President Xi Jinping reiterated China’s support for Bangladesh in safeguarding national sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, and opposing external interference. He expressed readiness to strengthen mutual support on core interest issues and called for enhanced strategic communication and exchanges at all levels. Additionally, he emphasized advancing high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, leveraging economic complementarity in infrastructure, information technology, new energy, and agriculture. The need for reinforced personnel exchanges and deepening people-to-people and cultural interactions was also emphasized. PM Sheikh Hasina, expressing gratitude for President Xi Jinping’s milestone state visit to Bangladesh in 2016, commended China for valuable support during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic development. She highlighted the Bangladesh-China relationship based on mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs. Congratulating on the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, PM Sheikh Hasina stated that Belt and Road cooperation has opened new avenues for Bangladesh’s development. Reiterating Bangladesh’s commitment to the one-China policy, she appreciated China’s role in regional peace and stability. PM Sheikh Hasina expressed readiness to work with China in deepening bilateral relations and strengthening cooperation in multilateral mechanisms, including BRICS, anticipating that the growth of the BRICS mechanism will bring new development opportunities to developing countries.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong Meets with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Abul Kalam Abdul Momen

On May 28, 2023, as part of the 12th round of diplomatic consultations between Bangladesh and China, Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong paid a courtesy visit to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka. During the meeting, Sun Weidong conveyed warm greetings from Chinese leaders, expressing China’s deep commitment to enhancing bilateral relations and valuing the enduring friendship established by the previous generation of leaders from both nations. Sun Weidong provided insights into the guiding principles of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, China’s economic and social progress, and the fundamental principles of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics for a new era. He emphasized China’s pursuit of national rejuvenation, asserting that China’s development presents significant opportunities globally and contributes to global stability. Acknowledging the substantial progress in China-Bangladesh relations under the strategic guidance of President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Hasina, Sun Weidong reiterated China’s readiness to collaborate with Bangladesh. The goal is to align development strategies, expand mutually beneficial cooperation, and jointly realize the aspirations of both nations.

Prime Minister Hasina conveyed her sincere regards to Chinese leaders, emphasizing the longstanding and robust friendship between Bangladesh and China. She expressed gratitude for China’s enduring support and recognized its constructive role in international and regional affairs. Reiterating Bangladesh’s commitment to the one-China policy, PM Hasina expressed readiness to strengthen cooperation with China to achieve their respective dreams and contribute to regional peace, stability, development, and prosperity.

On the same day, Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong held discussions with Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Kalam Abdul Momen. Minister Momen expressed appreciation for China’s support in economic and social development and affirmed Bangladesh’s commitment to working closely with China. The aim is to expedite the implementation of key agreements between the leaders of both countries, fostering collaboration on the Belt and Road Initiative and major projects. The shared objective is to elevate bilateral relations to new heights.

China-Bangladesh Diplomatic Consultation: Strengthening Traditional Friendship and Cooperation

On May 27, 2023, Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong and Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen co-chaired the 12th round of diplomatic consultations between China and Bangladesh in Dhaka. Vice Foreign Minister Sun highlighted the enduring and friendly relationship between China and Bangladesh, emphasizing mutual understanding and support. He underscored China’s prioritization of fostering friendly relations with Bangladesh in its neighborhood diplomacy. China firmly supports Bangladesh’s pursuit of a development path aligned with its national conditions, safeguarding its sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. Acknowledging Bangladesh’s adherence to the one-China principle, Sun expressed confidence in Bangladesh’s continued support on issues vital to China’s core interests, such as Taiwan, Tibet, and Xinjiang.

Referring to President Xi Jinping’s historic visit to Bangladesh in 2016, Sun emphasized China’s readiness to deepen the implementation of key understandings reached by the leaders of both countries. The focus includes strengthening high-level exchanges, aligning development strategies, advancing cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, and collaborating on major projects. The aim is to expand coordination and cooperation across various fields such as economy, trade, investment, agriculture, fishery, disaster prevention, reduction, maritime affairs, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and multilateral affairs. The shared objective is to jointly realize the Chinese dream of great national rejuvenation and Bangladesh’s vision of “Sonar Bangla.” The consultation also included an exchange of views on international and regional issues of mutual interest and concern.

Economic and Development Cooperation

Bangladesh and China encourage communication and collaboration at the local government level, bolstering bilateral cooperation mechanisms such as diplomatic consultations, joint economic and trade committees, and joint agriculture committees. In addressing the substantial trade gap between the two nations, China has not only extended economic assistance to Bangladesh but has also entered into the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) to eliminate tariff barriers on goods imported from Bangladesh. Within the framework of APTA, China has lifted tariff barriers on 84 different commodities from Bangladesh, including key exports such as jute and textiles. To address Bangladesh’s growing energy needs, China has proposed initiatives to develop natural gas resources and nuclear power plants in the country. Seeking economic collaboration, China’s landlocked Yunnan province aims to establish ties with Bangladesh to gain access to the Bay of Bengal. In reciprocation, Bangladesh has offered to establish a Special Economic Zone for China. Among the noteworthy agreements between the two nations are the Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation and a framework agreement on a concessional loan provided by China to Bangladesh. 

During this period, Chinese investment in Bangladesh has surged from USD 241 million to almost USD 1.4 billion. By 2023, more than 670 Chinese enterprises were operational in Bangladesh, playing a vital role in various sectors. These enterprises actively engage in social responsibility, contributing significantly to economic development, environmental preservation, community services, public welfare, and charity. They have generated over 550,000 jobs in Bangladesh.

The year 2023 signifies the fruition of cooperation between China and Bangladesh, with the completion or advancement of fourteen major infrastructure projects. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina personally inaugurated significant initiatives such as the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel. China’s investment in Bangladesh has surged to nearly 1.4 billion USD, with around seven hundred Chinese companies actively operating in the country. This has resulted in the creation of over 550,000 job opportunities for the local population. The tangible outcomes underscore the effectiveness of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as the most suitable development cooperation initiative aligned with Vision 2041 and the Smart Bangladesh initiative in the journey towards Bangladesh’s modernization. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina commended the BRI, acknowledging it as a gateway to new opportunities for Bangladesh’s development.  Over the last seven years, China has undertaken the construction of 12 highways, 21 bridges, and 27 power and energy projects in Bangladesh, actively contributing to the realization of the aspirations of the Bangladeshi people. Key achievements include the completion of the Dasherkandi Sewage Treatment Plant and the initial segment of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway. Notably, the first section of the Padma Bridge rail link has recently been inaugurated, and the Bangabandhu Tunnel under the Karnaphuli River is now open to traffic.

Hong Kong Expands Double Taxation Agreement Network with Bangladesh in Belt and Road Initiative Efforts

On August 30, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr. Christopher Hui, signed a comprehensive avoidance of double taxation agreement (CDTA) with Bangladesh on behalf of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. This move underscores the government’s persistent commitment to expanding Hong Kong’s CDTA network, particularly with tax jurisdictions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. The Senior Secretary of the Internal Resources Division and Chairman of the National Board of Revenue of the Ministry of Finance of Bangladesh, Mr. Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem, represented the Government of Bangladesh in the signing ceremony, accompanied by the Consul-General of Bangladesh in Hong Kong, Ms. Israt Ara. This CDTA marks the 47th agreement concluded by Hong Kong, outlining the allocation of taxing rights between the two jurisdictions and providing a framework for investors to assess potential tax liabilities arising from cross-border economic activities. Mr. Hui expressed confidence in the positive impact of this CDTA on economic and trade relations between Hong Kong and Bangladesh. He anticipates that it will provide additional incentives for businesses on both sides to engage in commercial activities and investments. Under the Hong Kong-Bangladesh CDTA, Hong Kong companies can benefit from double taxation relief, allowing any tax paid in Bangladesh to be credited against the tax payable in Hong Kong for the same income, subject to Hong Kong’s tax laws. Additionally, the CDTA offers the following tax relief arrangements – (a) Withholding tax rates for Hong Kong residents on dividends in Bangladesh will be capped at 10 per cent or 15 per cent (depending on shareholdings), and on interest, royalties, and fees for technical services, the rates will be capped at 10 per cent. (b) Hong Kong residents earning profits from international shipping transport in Bangladesh will enjoy a 50 per cent tax reduction in Bangladesh on the profits subject to tax there. The CDTA will come into force after completing ratification procedures in both jurisdictions. 

Vice-chairman of China International Development Cooperation Agency, Mr. Deng Boqing, Engages in Productive Visit to Bangladesh

On March 30th and 31st, H.E. Mr. Deng Boqing, Vice-chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agency, led a delegation on a significant visit to Bangladesh. Accompanied by H.E. Mr. Yao Wen, the Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh, the delegation engaged in key meetings with high-ranking officials. During the visit, H.E. Mr. Deng Boqing paid courtesy calls to H.E. Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, MP, the Honorable Foreign Minister, H.E. Mr. AHM Mustafa Kamal FCA, MP, the Honorable Minister of Finance, and H.E. Mr. Zahid Maleque, MP, the Honorable Minister of Health and Family Welfare. A notable event during the visit was the signing ceremony of the “Implementation Agreement of China-Aid Project of Burn Unit of Chittagong Medical College Hospital in Bangladesh.” This ceremony, witnessed by Mr. Deng Boqing, involved the active participation of H.E. Mr. Zahid Maleque, MP, the Honorable former Minister of Health and Family Welfare, and H.E. Mr. Mohibul Hassan Chowdhury, MP, the Honorable Deputy Minister of Education. The agreement was formally signed by H.E. Ambassador Yao Wen and H.E. Dr. Md. Anwar Hossain Howlader, Secretary of Health Services Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, representing the governments of China and Bangladesh, respectively.

Furthermore, Mr. Deng Boqing held a meeting with H.E. Ms. Sharifa Khan, Secretary of Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance. They signed and exchanged letters related to the Feasibility Study on the National Emergency Operation Center Project. As part of their visit, the delegation explored several key projects aided by China, including the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC), the Dasherkandi Sewage Water Treatment Plant funded by Chinese concessional loans, and Huawei Technologies Bangladesh Limited. This visit underscores the commitment to bilateral cooperation and development initiatives between China and Bangladesh.

Connectivity

Historic Inauguration: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Unveils Dhaka-Bhanga Rail Line via Padma Bridge

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina celebrated a momentous occasion on October 10, 2023, as she inaugurated the 82-kilometre rail line connecting Dhaka to Bhanga via the Padma Bridge. This significant milestone opens up new possibilities for rail connectivity, particularly in the southwestern region of Bangladesh. Addressing a civic rally at the station, the prime minister remarked, “It is a day to fulfill a dream of the country.”

The Padma Bridge Rail Link Project is a collaborative effort with 85% of the contract agreement funded by the Government of The People’s Republic of China through the Exim Bank of China. The remaining 15% covering contract agreements, land acquisition, resettlement, consultancy, and Project Implementation Unit (PIU) costs are provided by the Government of The People’s Republic of Bangladesh. This joint venture exemplifies the strong partnership between the two nations in realizing transformative infrastructure projects.

Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Inaugurates Airport-Farmgate Segment of Dhaka Elevated Expressway

On Sept. 2, 2023, the distinguished inauguration of the Airport-Farmgate segment of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway took place, with the honorable presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Mr. Yan Hualong, Chargé d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh, was in attendance at this momentous event.

Biman Bangladesh Airlines Restores Dhaka-Guangzhou Flights, Boosting China-Bangladesh Connectivity

On Sept. 14, Biman Bangladesh Airlines officially resumed its flights between Dhaka and Guangzhou, marking a significant step towards normalizing air travel between the two nations. This resumption adds 6 round-trip flights weekly, offering a combined passenger capacity of 900. The reinstatement of this route comes after its suspension due to the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The post-2023 period has witnessed a substantial surge in cross-border travel between China and Bangladesh. The Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh has actively facilitated this increased movement, streamlining visa application processes and issuing over 30,000 visas from April 2023. With the Dhaka-Guangzhou route’s restoration, the total weekly flights between China and Bangladesh will reach 50, comprising 30 flights to and from Guangzhou, 14 flights to and from Kunming, and 6 flights to and from Hong Kong. The collective passenger capacity will exceed 10,000, further promoting people-to-people exchanges and bolstering bilateral cooperation in trade, culture, education, and various other sectors.

Inauguration of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel in Chattogram Marks Milestone in Bangladesh-China Collaboration

The eagerly anticipated Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel, situated approximately 242 km southeast of the capital Dhaka, has been officially inaugurated. This monumental infrastructure project is a result of collaborative funding from the governments of Bangladesh and China, with construction led by the China Communications Construction Company, Ltd. Project manager Yu Jingtao highlighted that the tunnel was meticulously crafted with Chinese design, technology, and adherence to international standards. In response to the unique conditions and requirements of Bangladesh, the Chinese team also compiled a comprehensive technical guide for the project. This guide aims to expedite the development of similar projects in Bangladesh, showcasing the commitment to mutual growth and progress between the two nations.

People to People Connectivity

Over the past seven years, cultural exchanges between China and Bangladesh have deepened, fostering a closer bond between the two nations. Numerous heartwarming stories reflecting the enduring friendship between the peoples have emerged. In the people-to-people connection sub-forum, a poignant narrative was shared by Alifa Chin, a 13-year-old Bangladeshi girl, leaving a lasting impact on the attendees. Dr. Dipu Moni, the Honorable former Minister of Education, encouraged the youth from both countries at the forum, urging them to strengthen exchanges and become ambassadors of Bangladesh-China friendship.

China Presents Anti-Dengue Aid to Bangladesh

On November 7, 2023, a ceremony marked the official transfer of China’s emergency provisions for combating dengue fever to Bangladesh. Ambassador Yao Wen, representing China, delivered the supplies to Zahid Maleque, the former Minister of Health and Family Welfare in Bangladesh. During the event, Ambassador Yao emphasized the strong bond between China and Bangladesh, describing them as sincere friends facing challenges together and close neighbors committed to mutual assistance.

Inauguration of Belt and Road Initiative Exhibition 2023 by the Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh

On September 8th, 2023, the Embassy of China in Bangladesh marked the commencement of “The Belt and Road Initiative in Bangladesh Exhibition 2023” with an inaugural ceremony held at the Bangabandhu Bangladesh–China Friendship Exhibition Center. Mr. Yan Hualong, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy, delivered the keynote speech, and the event was graced by the presence of notable figures such as Mr. Lokman Hossain Miah, Executive Chairman of BIDA, Prime Minister’s Office, Mr. A.H.M. Ahsan, Vice Chairman of EPB, Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Md. Anwar Hossain, Additional Secretary and Wing Chief of ERD, Ministry of Finance, Mr. Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Chairman of ABCA, and former Bangladesh Ambassador to China, Mr. Gazi Golam Murtoza, President of BCCCI, and Mr. Ke Changliang, Chairman of CEAB, who delivered speeches. Counsellor Song Yang hosted the ceremony, and nearly 400 representatives from Chinese and Bangladeshi enterprises attended.

The exhibition, scheduled to run for three days until September 10th, features the participation of almost 60 Bangladeshi and Chinese enterprises, banks, and government agencies utilizing over 120 standard booths to showcase the accomplishments of the Belt and Road Initiative in Bangladesh. The event anticipates more than 3000 professional visitors. In addition to the exhibition, various activities such as a seminar titled “Stakeholders Consultation with Chinese Investors: Challenges, Expectations & Prospects,” a forum titled “China-Bangladesh Enterprises High-quality Development: Achievements & Way Forward,” on-site job fairs, and business matchmaking meetings were also scheduled.

Chinese President Xi Jinping Responds to Heartwarming Letter from Young Bangladeshi Alifa Chin

Chinese President Xi Jinping has recently penned a heartfelt reply to a letter from young Bangladeshi, Alifa Chin. In his response, President Xi encourages Alifa to pursue her dreams, study diligently, and continue fostering the longstanding friendship between China and Bangladesh. Highlighting Alifa’s story as a poignant example of the friendship between the two nations, President Xi emphasizes the historical closeness between the Chinese and Bangladeshi peoples, rooted in over a thousand years of friendly exchanges. He recalls the maritime expeditions of Zheng He, a Ming Dynasty navigator, who, over 600 years ago, sailed twice to Bangladesh, laying the foundation for enduring friendship.

President Xi warmly recalls the touching story of Alifa’s birth during the “Peace Ark” voyage, where a Chinese female military doctor assisted Alifa’s mother during a challenging time. Notably, Alifa’s father named her after the Bengali word for China. Expressing his joy at Alifa’s aspiration to become a China-Bangladesh friendship messenger and study at a Chinese medical school, President Xi wishes her success in realizing her dreams and contributing to society. As World Children’s Day approaches, President Xi extends his well wishes for Alifa’s good health, a happy family, and success in her studies. Alifa’s story, born out of the assistance provided by Chinese naval ships and military doctors, symbolizes the enduring friendship between the two nations. Throughout the years, Alifa has been visited by Chinese naval ships and military doctors, receiving support from entities like the China Communication Construction Company Ltd (CCCC), and experiencing cultural exchanges facilitated by the Embassy of China in Bangladesh. President Xi’s response underscores the significance of people-to-people connections in strengthening bilateral relations between China and Bangladesh.

China-Bangladesh Culture & Art Night Marks a Resounding Success in Dhaka

On March 4, 2023, the Embassy of China in Bangladesh organized the China-Bangladesh Culture & Art Night in Dhaka, a memorable event that showcased the rich cultural heritage of both nations. The Kunming National Song & Dance Theater presented an enchanting performance, generously supported by the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA). Dignitaries such as Mr. Liaquat Ali Lucky, Director General of BSA, H.E. Mr. Yao Wen, Ambassador of China to Bangladesh, H.E. Mr. Md. Abul Monsur, Secretary of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Bangladesh, and H.E. Mr. Shabbir Ahmad Chowdhury, Secretary (West) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, graced the occasion with their presence.

The event drew an audience of over 500 people, representing diverse backgrounds from Bangladesh, foreign missions in Dhaka, and the Chinese community. Ambassador Yao emphasized the significance of this occasion, highlighting it as the first non-virtual art performance by Chinese troupes in Bangladesh since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic three years ago. This event was seen as a pivotal moment, symbolizing the “reset button” for people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and Bangladesh. Ambassador Yao stressed that fostering understanding and recognition of each other’s cultures is crucial for deepening bilateral relations, emphasizing that genuine friendship is the cornerstone of robust state-to-state ties. The Yunnan Art Troupe, renowned both in China and overseas, presented a spectacular performance encompassing dance, vocal, and instrumental music, showcasing the diversity and vitality of Chinese culture. Ambassador Yao expressed gratitude for the opportunity to feature Bangladeshi artists on the same stage, presenting a harmonious blend of cultural richness from both nations.

As China optimizes its epidemic prevention and control measures, lifting travel restrictions, daily flights between China and Bangladesh were set to resume in 2023. This development marks a significant opportunity to facilitate more exchange visits, particularly in the realms of culture, education, and youth engagement. Ambassador Yao closed with an optimistic outlook, referencing an old Chinese saying: “A year’s plan starts with spring.” As the Bangladeshi calendar enters the season of spring, people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and Bangladesh are poised to blossom with renewed vigor and vitality.

Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh Contributes Relief Supplies to Aid Displaced Myanmar Residents

On December 27, 2023, the Embassy of China in Bangladesh extended a donation of essential items, including food, shoes, clothing, and stationery, to the Amader Somoyer Pratiddhi Foundation (ASP Foundation). This initiative aims to enhance the living conditions of individuals displaced from Rakhine State in Myanmar and currently residing in Bangladesh. During the handover ceremony, Mr. Song Yang, Counsellor of the Embassy, presented the relief supplies to Mr. Manzur Qader, Chairman of the ASP Foundation. Mr. Song emphasized China’s commitment to facilitating the repatriation of displaced individuals to their home countries. Concurrently, China has provided substantial support to improve the living conditions of those affected. Mr. Song expressed hope that the ASP Foundation, along with various sectors in Bangladesh, will collaborate to address the challenges faced by displaced individuals at the earliest. In response, Mr. Manzur Qader expressed gratitude for the relief supplies provided by the Chinese Embassy, anticipating that this assistance would significantly alleviate the hardships experienced by the displaced population. He also acknowledged China’s efforts in promoting the repatriation of displaced individuals and affirmed the ASP Foundation’s dedication to working with relevant stakeholders to create a conducive environment for their return.

Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh Facilitates 2024 Scholarships Information Session at Dhaka University

On December 4, the Embassy of China in Bangladesh conducted an information session on the Chinese Scholarships for the year 2024 at Dhaka University. The event featured Mr. Yan Hualong, Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister Counsellor of the Embassy, Professor Shamshad Mortuza, Director of the Office of International Affairs at Dhaka University, and Dr. Yang Hui, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute at Dhaka University. Additionally, Dr. Rakibul Hoque, Professor of the Faculty of Business Studies at Dhaka University and Vice Chairman of the Association of Bangladesh-China Alumni, was present, along with nearly 100 students from the university.

The conference included valuable insights from Sun Kangning, Attaché of the Culture Section of the Chinese Embassy, and Dr. Yang Hui, who provided information about the Chinese Government Scholarship and the Confucius Institute Scholarship. Alumni, including Dr. Rakibul Hoque, openly shared their personal experiences in China, offering a firsthand perspective. The session concluded with representatives addressing various questions raised by students regarding the scholarship programs.

Visual Harmony: Unveiling the Artistic Attay of China-Bangladesh Collaboration

On November 27, an engaging art and photography exhibition titled “Belt and Road Initiative & Bangladesh-China Friendship: Opening a New Horizon” was launched at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. This collaborative initiative, orchestrated by the Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh and the Association of Bangladesh China Alumni, served as a platform to showcase the artistic talents of individuals dedicated to strengthening the bonds between the two nations. The opening ceremony, attended by nearly 100 individuals, featured prominent figures including H.E. Yao Wen, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Chairman of the Association of Bangladesh China Alumni, Liaquat Ali Lucky, Director General of the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dr Nisar Hossain, Dean of the Institute of Fine Arts of the University of Dhaka, Yue Liwen Cultural Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh, and representatives from the Confucius Institutes and Bangladesh-China Friendship Center. Running for six days, the exhibition showcased a diverse collection of 100 thoughtfully curated works. These artistic expressions aimed to spotlight China’s substantial contributions to Bangladesh’s significant projects and delve into the shared cultural richness between the two nations. Enthusiastic art students and photographers from both nations played a pivotal role in the exhibition, immersing themselves in the visual narratives presented. This creative endeavor stood as a testament to the enduring friendship between China and Bangladesh, fostering mutual understanding through the expressive lens of art and culture.

Triumph of Creativity: 22nd ‘Dreamland China’ Children Art Competition Wraps Up Successfully

On the evening of November 2, the closure and award presentation ceremony for the 22nd “Dreamland China” Children Art Competition concluded with great success. The event, jointly organized by the Embassy of China in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh-China Friendship Center, and China Media Group Bangladesh Bureau, took place at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. Over 200 attendees, including Kamal Uddin, President of the Bangladesh-China Friendship Center (BCFC), Gahangir Alam Rana, Secretary-General, and the talented competition winners along with their parents, were present. Mr. Yue Liwen, the Cultural Counselor of the Chinese embassy, graced the occasion as the chief guest and delivered a speech. The judging panel meticulously selected 12 winners, aged between 5 and 14, from a pool of over 300 submitted artworks. The ceremony also featured captivating cultural performances that added an extra layer of charm to the event.

Successful Delegation: Bangladeshi Think Tanks Engage in Fruitful Visit to China

In late September, facilitated by the Embassy of China in Bangladesh, a delegation comprising Bangladeshi think tanks concluded a successful visit to China. The delegation included scholars from the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) and the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS). The visit encompassed extensive discussions with the China Institute of International Studies, covering topics such as the Bay of Bengal region’s current situation, China-Bangladesh relations, and collaborative initiatives under the “Belt and Road” framework. Additionally, the delegation engaged in dialogue with faculty and students at Peking University, focusing on the development of the South Asia Research Centre and the teaching and research of the Bengali language at Peking University.

Throughout the year, China consistently offered unwavering support for the country’s national sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, while opposing external interference. China pledges continuous solidarity with the people of Bangladesh in their pursuit of a better future. The foundation of Bangladesh-China relations rests on mutual respect and a mutually beneficial outcome, rooted in the people and genuinely contributing to their welfare. As such, it is a relationship aspired to and endorsed by the people. Together, China and Bangladesh aim to elevate their relations to a higher level on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.

*Syed Raiyan Amir is a Research Associate at the KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs. He was a Research Assistant at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and International Republican Institute (IRI). The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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