Will Gwadar become a Chinese colony?

With China so heavily invested in the international port city of Gwadar, there have been rumours circulating that the location would eventually become a Chinese colony. As part of our series of Frequently Asked Questions, one of our roles is to assess stories such as these and address them with the facts.

While there are no guarantees in the future, relations between Pakistan and China have been harmonious and there are no suggestions that the Chinese will take over Gwadar in the future. Meanwhile, we can definitely address one rumour that is likely to have sparked this suggestion but firstly, let’s take a look at China’s role here.

Why is China so heavily invested in Gwadar?

China are behind Gwadar in a big way and Multi Billion Dollar projects have been initiated as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) alliance. This covers many areas of Pakistan but Gwadar is seen as the focal point.

We can trace the current atmosphere of cordial relations back to 2003 when the President of China at the time, Hu Jingtao, stated that Pakistan formed an integral part of the country’s Good Neighbour policy. This was intended to encourage friendly co-operation in regions close to China which would work, not in an individual way but in a manner that would benefit all.

In terms of Gwadar, the port is important for a number of reasons but the key lies in its specific location. As the closest deep sea port to the Strait of Hormuz, it provides China with access to a body of water that transports a high percentage of the world’s petroleum.

The Strait is so strategic and of such high importance that China are heavily focused on Gwadar as part of their overall CPEC contribution. But that doesn’t give automatic reasons to suggest that the city is set to become a Chinese colony in the future.

How did such stories circulate?

Whenever rumour and conjecture is involved, it’s often hard to pin down the source of the original story. In this instance, however, we can address one suggestion and refute it beyond doubt. It has been suggested that CPIC, market leaders in real estate in Gwadar, have set aside property for 50,000 Chinese nationals but this simply isn’t the case.

The inference is that China may want their own workers to provide the manpower behind completed projects but there are no truth in this. In terms of that story relating to homes for 50,000 Chinese workers, we are happy to clear things up and confirm that there is no substance behind it.

While China are heavily backing projects in Gwadar, the city remains in Pakistan and there are no confirmed reasons as to why this situation will change. Rumours may persist but as far as CPIC are concerned, we have only dealt in facts as opposed to conjecture regarding the ongoing situation in Gwadar.

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