Bangladesh brushes aside the possibility of the Chinese debt trap, urges initiative to back stranded students

1111-Planning Minister Talks at a webinar on Chinese National Day and 46th anniversary of Bangladesh-China diplomatic ties

Planning Minister M. A. Mannan today (Monday) said that Bangladesh has no possibility of being entrapped by the Chinese debt trap or loan trap as the amount of the country’s loans in comparison to the GDP (Gross domestic product) is very low and the foreign reserve fund or remittance is being increased day by day.

The minister made the comments while addressing a webinar on the “72nd Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China and 46th Anniversary of Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Bangladesh and China” as the chief guest.

Association of Bangladesh-China Alumni (ABCA) organized the webinar while Minister Counselor and Deputy Chief of Mission at Chinese Embassy in Dhaka, Hualong Yan, spoke as special guest.

“Look at our debt to GDP ratio, there is no scope of trap here. Look at the huge reserve we are building up. If we are trapped, how can we sit on a mountain of reserve?” Mannan asked.

Referring to the comments of former Bangladesh’s ambassador to China, Munshi Foyez Ahmed, the minister marked the rumor of ‘loan trap’ as one kind of propaganda, spread by some vested interest groups.

He claimed that before borrowing any loan Bangladesh thinks very well about its capability. “We never fill our mouths with the amount of food that we are not able to digest.”

Addressing Bangladesh-China diplomatic ties based on excellent understanding and solid basis, he opined that both states are very good friends and will work together.

“We don’t want to look backward; we want to look forward. Under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping and the communist party, China is moving forward while Bangladesh is also progressing under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina”, Mannan pointed out.

Underlining the gradual extension of facilities for Bangladeshi products in the Chinese market, the minister also sought more cooperation from China to extend the space for Bangladeshi main exporting readymade garment products in the coming days.

He thanked China for its tremendous services at many big development projects in Bangladesh including the country’s ever-biggest river bridge over the river Padma.

Referring to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, he highly appreciated the role of China worldwide in mobilizing its pandemic vaccines to the mass people without making any differentiation and discrimination.

Meanwhile, the minister urged Beijing to take necessary initiatives for returning the stranded Bangladeshi students to China who are studying at different Chinese universities and other academic institutes.

Nearly 10,000 Bangladeshi students have been stranded in their home country since 2019 due to the global pandemic.

A few weeks ago hundreds of those students also held a human chain and demonstrations in the capital Dhaka over the issue.

Chinese diplomat, Hualong Yan, at the webinar, however, replied that China is heartily working on this issue and assured that instant after improving the pandemic situation at a satisfactory level, Bangladeshi students would be returned.

“Till now, a single student from any country has not been returned to China due to the prevailing pandemic situation. Once the COVID-19 situation improves, we will arrange for the backing of all Bangladeshi students,” Yan assured.

Former diplomat Munshi Foyez Ahmed, also ABCA President, conducted the webinar while ABCA’s general secretary and associate professor of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) in Sylhet, Dr. Md. Shahabul Haq delivered the welcome speech. Former Bangladeshi envoy in China Humayon A. Kamal presented the keynote speech.

Addressing the Chinese civilization as one of the world’s most ancient civilizations, Kamal, focused on potential sectors of Bangladesh-China bilateral ties including trade and business.

The webinar was also addressed by the Chief of Bangla Department at China Media Group in Bangladesh, Yu Guangyue Anandi; ABCA Vice President and former chairman of Population Science Department at Dhaka University, Professor Dr. Mainul Islam; ABCA joint secretary and lecturer at Chinese Shanghai University of Engineering Science, Dr. A. A. M. Muzahid and joint secretary of Bangladesh-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCCI), Al Mamun Mridha.

The webinar was concluded by Munshi Foyez Ahmed with the vote of thanks to the participants and pointing to the factors, playing a pivotal role behind the tremendous progress of China. “China has been working for people and the tremendous efforts to meet the needs of people have also helped China to make miraculous progress.”