A death in Karachi leads to a question: Will Pakistan become a crisis for China?


A Chinese national who was the managing director of a shipping company in Karachi, Pakistan, was shot dead on Monday. One of his Chinese colleagues was shot in the leg but survived. A Pakistani police officer said it seemed to have been “a targeted attack,” as reported by CGTN.

The man’s death was confirmed yesterday by a foreign ministry spokesperson, who said that China “condemns any violence against Chinese nationals and will pay close attention to the investigation” of the killing. The foreign ministry will have to issue more and more such statements in the coming years, especially regarding Chinese citizens in Southwest Asia and the Middle East, which comprise the major nexus of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Moreover, the security of Chinese nationals abroad will become a constant irritant and frequent challenge for China’s foreign policy. Pakistan may be the country where the irritant becomes a crisis.

Wen Jiabao in the crosshairs?

In 2012, the New York Times published the results of an investigation that tied companies and huge sums of wealth to family and relatives of Wen Jiabao 温家宝, China’s premier from 2003 to 2013. In the years since then, many observers of elite Chinese politics have speculated that Wen might one day become the biggest tiger — the most senior official — to be taken down by Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign.

That day may be closer.

  • The New York Times — Wen can’t get a break from it — today reports (paywall) that Duan Weihong 段伟红, aka Whitney Duan, 49, who had set up companies with some of Wen’s relatives, was detained last year.
  • There has been no official announcement of Duan’s detention, and the Times says that “it is not clear who detained her, why and whether she is still being held.”
  • One source said that Duan’s detention may be related to the investigation of fallen Chongqing Party boss Sun Zhengcai 孙政才. See our note yesterday on his alleged mistress.