News Desk |
Chinese Deputy Chief of Mission in Pakistan, Mr. Lijian Zhao, is leaving with effect from 8th August. He has been replaced by another senior diplomat, Ms. Pang Chunxue who is already in Islamabad.
Our best wishes for Lijian Zhao @zlj517 and the family as you leave your second home Pakistan. Thank you for your contributions in further solidifying Pak China friendship and successfully steering CPEC projects. You will be greatly missed.
— Jalil Abbas Jilani (@JalilJilani) August 2, 2019
Zhao had served on more than one occasion in Islamabad. Altogether he served more than eight years in Pakistan. He became the first Chinese diplomat in Islamabad who effectively used twitter to explain things about CPEC projects and Pak-China relations and became a house hold name in Pakistan.
Congratulations! This person has again been awarded “joke of the day”. Thar coal mine &power plant were completed in July. M-5 Motorway, KKH Phase II, Hubco power plant will be completed soon. 27 social projects were decided. 9 SEZs are making good progress. CPEC is here to stay! https://t.co/MFcXVs2Pd9
— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) August 1, 2019
Unlike usual cautious diplomacy by the Chinese diplomats, he robustly defended Chinese positions on twitter; his open criticism of the US and western media was noted as far away as Washington. And he recently ended up in a twitter debate with Obama administration’s former NSA, Susan Rice.
The Twitter war with Susan Rice, was about the race relations in Washington’s Afro-American and latin dominated areas. Zhao responding to western criticism of China’s treatment of minorities pointed had pointed out how Blacks and Latinos are often treated in Washington. He later deleted his tweets, but not before these created a world wide debate.
Zhao was born in Hebei province, China in 1972. He obtained a master’s degree in political affairs and joined Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1996. As a junior diplomat he has served in Washington. Between 2013 and 2015, he served as Director in Office of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh affairs in Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.
And from July 2015 till May 2017 he served as Deputy Chief of Mission and political counsellor in Chinese Embassy in Pakistan. He was then promoted to Minister Counsellor and served in the twin capacity of DCM and Minister Counselor till now.
Lijian Zhao had redefined Chinese diplomacy in Islamabad. Making excellent use of Twitter he created an informative discourse on Pak-China Relations. We wish him best as leaves for Beijing, he will be missed. pic.twitter.com/8rKEggb8xw
— Moeed Pirzada (@MoeedNj) August 3, 2019
Zhao has been the ever first Chinese diplomat who was very well known in Islamabad’s diplomatic, political and media circles. He developed large presence and visibility and Pakistanis have lined up farewell dinners for him. He is being offered warm good byes on twitter too.
Ms. Pang Chunxue as New DCM
Chinese Embassy has organized a farewell for him on 8th August, in a local hotel in Islamabad. His successor, Ms. Pang Chunxue will also be introduced there. She is a senior diplomat, who has served in the UK and Afghanistan and had served in Pakistan almost 20 years ago in a junior position in late 1990’s.
China Pakistan relations has expanded since then due to CPEC and geopolitical development and China now has a large Embassy compound in Islamabad which rivals the US presence in Diplomatic enclave.