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Sino-Bangladesh relationship:

Bangladesh & China has been countries of close proximity yet virtually separated
by the near impregnable the Great Himalayas. Therefore, the proximity which
should lead to earlier historical attachment than the actual, also means that both
these nations have crossed great hurdles to come to each other. Although
Bangladesh has been a sovereign state for only nearly four decades, relationship
in the multi spherical aspects with China predates almost two millennia.
Civilizations thrived in this part of the world more rapidly due to the fertile &
comfortable living atmosphere & China & India have been the two linchpins of
the drive from the very ancient time. And in ancient Bengal formed some of the
ancient India’s most powerful and Influential kingdoms. That is why, Bengal has
been an Eldorado for many renowned explorers and foreign emissaries. Although
Bengal has been mentioned in Alexandrian & Roman history, the first ever
recorded mention in Chinese history about the eastern Indian Territory we now
know as Bengal has been recognized in the account of two Chinese travellers
back in only early 600’s. They termed it “Samatata” which has been part of the
ancient Kingdom of Samatata or Samata, located at the mouth of the
Brahmaputra river (near present day Comilla) in the south east of Bengal.
However, in the current timeline, China & Bangladesh has come a long way to
form a strong bilateral relationship. An already established regional and a
growing global power, China has keenly observed the interest of its friendly
neighbor Bangladesh and extended its hand to Bangladesh in a multisectoral &
multifaceted way. In the year 2010, China-Bangladesh relationship has stumbled
on its 35th anniversary and this bond of friendship and co-operation is promising
to grow warmer by the days.


1. Analyze the dynamics of co-operation between China & Bangladesh

2. Highlight the minutes of BD PM & Sino VP

Retrospect of Sino-Bengali relations:

Bengal, as part of the greater Indian subcontinent, and China had

relatively little modern political contact before the 1950s. However, both
countries have had extensive and close historical cultural contact since the first
century, especially with the transmission of Buddhism from India to China. Trade
relations via the Silk Road acted as economic contact between the two regions.

After the transmission of Buddhism from India to China from the first century
onwards, many Indian scholars and monks travelled to China, such as Batuo (fl.
464-495 AD)—founder of the Shaolin Monastery—and Bodhidharma—founder of
Chan/Zen Buddhism—while many Chinese scholars and monks also travelled to
India, such as Xuanzang (b. 604) and I Ching (635-713), both of whom were
students at Nalanda University in Bihar (part of greater Bengal). Xuanzang wrote
the Great Tang Records on the Western Regions, an account of his journey to
India, which later inspired Wu Cheng'en's Ming Dynasty novel Journey to the
West, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. This also
continued for another five centuries as the proto-Bangla language was born
during the reign of the Palas. The Buddhist texts of the Charyapada were the
earliest form of Bangla language. This Proto-Bangla language was used as the
official language in Tibet, Myanmar, Java and Sumatra. As these regions have
been under the political & cultural influences of mainland China the interactions
would become obvious. Books on every aspect of knowledge were compiled
during the Pala Rule & their influence in art & culture had been reverberated
throughout the Buddhist world. During the 8th century, the astronomical table of
sines by the Indian astronomer and mathematician, Aryabhata (also from
Nalanda University), were translated into the Chinese astronomical and
mathematical book of the Treatise on Astrology of the Kaiyuan Era (Kaiyuan
Zhanjing), compiled in 718 AD during the Tang Dynasty. [5] The Kaiyuan Zhanjing
was compiled by Gautama Siddha, an astronomer and astrologer born in
Chang'an, and whose family was originally from India. He was also notable for his
translation of the Navagraha calendar into Chinese. Atiśa Dipankara Shrijnana
was a Buddhist teacher from the Pala Empire who, along with Konchog Gyalpo
and Marpa, was one of the major figures in the preaching of Buddhism in Tibet.

As mentioned earlier, Chinese mention about Bengal were also found regarding
the Kingdom of Samatata (or Samata), which was a kingdom in ancient
Bengal, located at the mouth of the Brahmaputra river (near present day
Comilla). It was a vassal to the Gupta Empire. The Roman geographer Ptolemy
called the kingdom Souanagoura. Two ancient Chinese travelers also mention
Samatata in their travels. In the early 600s, Xuanzang called it "San-mo-tat'a"
and indicates the kingdom was a Buddhist center. He gave the distance between
Kamarupa and Samatata as 1300 li. He further revealed that the land was low
and moist and roughly 3000 li in circuit. Samatata was visited nearly a century
later by another Chinese monk, Yijing or I Ching. As of April 2010, archaeological
excavations are currently underway in the villages of Wari and Bateshwar, very
near to present capital of Bangladesh, uncovering the ruins of a fortress city of

After these recorded histories, Bengal has been mentioned by the Chinese
historian after a long period during the famous treasure expedition by the fleet of
Zheng He (Cheng Ho) during the Ming Dynasty. Renowned Chinese historian Ma
Huan along with his contemporaries of the voyage namely Fei Xin (FEI HSIN), Gong
Zhen (Kung Chen) & Guo Chongli has depicted these journeys the famous of
which is Ma Huan’s travelogue The Overall Survey of the Ocean's Shores or The
Captivating Views of the Ocean's Shores (1433). During the fourth of the seven
voyages Ma Huan recorded visit to Bangla. In addition to the topography, travel
routes and distances in his account of Bangla (Bang-ge-la), he gives such minute
details as the calendar, textiles and woollen products, varieties of wine, crops,
marriages and funerals, language, dress and ornaments, currency, merchandise,
silk and silk cocoons, dancers and tiger-fighters, and so on. One suspects that
during his stay in Bengal he picked up Bangla as well.

After the grand voyages of the Admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho), the history
has been silent for the next couple of centuries. China’s growing closed door
policy, the European colonial expansion & the extinction of Bengal as a
Sovereign power have contributed to the lack of interactions. In these centuries,
Bengal has lost its separate entity as a state and been annexed in the greater
British Indian territory until the formation of Pakistan in 1947.

Modern day Sino-Bangladesh relations:

As a state of friendly sphere, China & Bangladesh has been drawn closer since
the Pakistani period and direct diplomatic contact has been re-established during
the latter part of 1975 after the liberation war. Since the establishment of the
diplomatic ties, Bangladesh has been a staunch follower of the One-China policy.
Reversibly in exchange, Bangladesh always had the extended hands of China
through high & low & relations have spread into multifarious branches of
bilateral ties like Chinese direct investments in Bangladesh, Technology transfer,
economic aids & grants, military & defense co-operations, flourishing of trade &
commerce and exchange of culture & traditions. These warm ties further
blossomed in the aftermath of the economic rejuvenation of China from the late
80’s & bilateral relations smoothly fostered into a trustworthy bond.

Co-operation in Global diplomacy

One china policy, global warming & climate changing, counter weight against
Indian aggressive & dominating policies, support of chinese policies etc.

Economic Co-operation (please write detail on these)

1. Economic grants

2. Financial loans specially soft loans & long term loans

3. Infrastructure building like Power plants, flood embankments, roads,

railways, bridges, ports, convention Centre, cyclone shelters

4. Development of existing structures like ports, river dredging, production &

storage facilities,

5. Duty free entry of goods, quota facility, bilateral treaties

6. Water distribution of international rivers between the two countries

specially the Brahmaputra.

7. Establishing Bangladesh-China direct transport through road & rail links

via Myanmar or North-eastern India.

Trade & commerce

From the beginning of the trade between the two countries, China has been
favored in terms of trade balance & the gap has been increasing hugely in the
recent years. Although China has been trying to be lenient about the tax free
entry of our export goods, these is considerable scope to extend this co-
operation. According to the statistics of the Chinese Customs, the bilateral trade
volume in 2003 amounted to $1.368 billion with an increase of 12.45% as
opposed to the previous year, including an export of $1.335 billion and an import
of $33 million, up 25.2% and 3.2% respectively on the part of China. According to
an article on a Bangladeshi daily, BANGLADESH suffers over $4 billion trade
deficit in the FY 2009-2010 with China despite a slight fall in her imports and
gradual increase in exports to the global economic super power in the past year.
Dhaka exported goods worth a meagre $141 million to Beijing in 2009 calendar
year and imported commodities worth $4,442 million from there. However,
Bangladesh's exports to China increased 7 per cent to $141 million in 2009 from
$132million export in 2008. This shows signs of progress but still both countries
specially China should agree more about lessening this huge trade gap.

China's major imports from Bangladesh are raw materials like leather, cotton
textiles, fish, etc. and major exports are: textiles, machinery and electronic
products, raw materials, fertilizer, tyre, raw silk, maize, etc.

Science & technology

In November 1983, a joint committee on economy, trade and science and

technology between China and Bangladesh was set up. In principle, the joint
committee holds its meeting in the capitals of the two countries in turn. Up to
now the joint committee has had 10 meetings (respectively in 1984, 1986, 1987,
1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996 and 2002).

China and Bangladesh signed the Agreement of Cooperation on Science and

Technology in March 1978 and the Agreement was renewed in 1990. From 1979
to 1991 the two countries held 5 meetings of cooperation on science and
Achievements have been made in bilateral cooperation on flood control and
regulation of rivers. In this regard, officials and experts from the water
conservancy departments of the two governments exchanged visits and signed
an MOU of technological cooperation on water conservancy. Specific cooperation
projects included dike arrangement and sectional design for the Brahmaputra
River, regulating the River's watercourses and joint research on the River's
watercourses and silt movement.

Military co-operation

Since the Liberation of Bangladesh, except for the first few years, China has
remained the biggest partner in terms of military & defense co-operation. The
only arms producing facility in Bangladesh is the machine Tools Factory which
has been established in the late fifties by Chinese infrastructural help. Although
Sino-Bangladeshi security relations have remained informal, the two sides have
regularly exchanged high-level military delegations to review relations, negotiate
weapons transfers, inspect military facilities, and cement personal contacts. Most
of the military facilities, hardware & weapons systems of the three wings of the
armed forces namely the army, the Navy & the Air force have been purchased or
granted from China. China has considerably aided us in terms of the very crucial
army training & maintenance work. For the last few years, Chinese military &
defense products have contributed the major share in terms of Bangladesh
armed forces spending which included Tanks, armored personal vehicles, guns &
turrets, small arms & weapons, medium & small naval vessels, fighter jets, radar
& anti-air defense systems etc. to name a few.

Culture & tradition

In November 1979, the Chinese and Bangladesh governments signed the

Agreement of Cooperation on Culture, after which an implementation program
for cultural exchanges is signed every three years. With the signing of the
Agreement, bilateral exchanges and cooperation in the fields of culture and
sports have been continuously strengthened. Many delegations and groups have
exchanged visits between the two countries. A cultural delegation of the
Bangladesh government visited China in 1997. Within the year, there were
totally 18 visits including 97 persons between the two countries. In 1998, China
Hangzhou Youth Acrobatic Troupe visited in Bangladesh and the two countries
exchanged totally 7 visits including 47 persons. In 1999, a cultural delegation of
the Bangladesh government visited China and signed the 1998-2000
implementation program for cultural exchanges. Bangladesh National Troupe of
Arts visited China while China National Acrobatic Troupe visited Bangladesh in
the year. China National Bureau of Historical Relics provided as gifts to the
Bangladesh side replicas of Chinese historical relics worthy of hundreds of
thousands RMB yuan. There were totally 10 visits including 63 persons in the
field of culture. In 2001 and 2002, Bangladesh National Troupe of Arts visited
China for 2 times to attend activities in Beijing. In January 2002, Chongqing
Children Acrobatic Troupe visited Bangladesh. In January of 2004, Meng Xiaosi,
Vice Minister for Chinese Cultural Affairs, led a delegation for visit to Bangladesh.
In August, Bangladesh National Troupe of Arts visited China to attend the 6th
Asian Arts Festival.
China and Bangladesh started to exchange students since 1976. There were 58
Bangladesh students in China in 2001. In 1986, the Bangladesh government
provided funds to build the premises for the First Experimental Primary School in
Beijing. The school was named Sino-Bangladesh Friendship School.