South Asia

Coronavirus: Chinese workers in Pakistan facing mental health problems

Coronavirus: Chinese workers in Pakistan facing mental health problems

Bangladesh Live News | @banglalivenews | 19 Jul 2020, 10:50 am
Islamabad: The Chinese government is unhappy with all-weather ally Pakistan's alleged mishandling of the COVID-19 situation causing mental stress to employees of Chinese PSUs stationed in the south Asian country, media reports said.

The Chinese government, which has already invested billions of dollars in Pakistan, is extremely unhappy with Pakistan’s “mishandling” of the Covid-19 pandemic as a result of which employees of Chinese PSUs stationed in Pakistan are facing “psychological stress” and “mental health problems”, internal communication documents accessed by The Sunday Guardian have revealed.

Chinese workers are reportedly demanding to be allowed to go back home.

The communication also reveals how Chinese PSUs are adopting a “segregation” policy when it comes to Chinese employees and local Pakistani employees, reports The Sunday Guardian.

In one such security related communication sent on 7 July by Zhang Wanjie, the security advisor to Pakistan’s unit of Bureau of Geophysical Prospecting (BGP), which is a part of the China National Petroleum Corporation, China’s largest oil and gas pipeline contractor and operator, to his China-based headquarters, he has severely criticised the way Pakistan government has dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic, while adding that the people of Pakistan are “not following even the standard procedures and lacked awareness about basic hygiene”, reported the magazine.

As per Wanjie’s detailed report, seen by The Sunday Guardian, there are seven units of BGP having 87 employees that are active in various projects inside Pakistan. The report also contains the contingency plan that BGP is using to keep its Chinese citizens safe in Pakistan.

The contingency plan includes keeping the Chinese and Pakistan employees separately in isolation, storing food for at least two months and setting up a counselling facility for the Chinese employees who are under “a lot of stress”.

Interestingly, China has made major investments in  Pakistan.

As per the notification, seen by The Sunday Guardian, there have been instances in the recent past where Chinese workers have indulged in mass protests, strikes, roadblocks and visiting the Chinese embassy and consulate in Pakistan in view of the problems that they are facing in Pakistan which has led to a “negative” impact on the smooth implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the region.

A similar report sent to Beijing by Petrochina, which is a Chinese oil and gas company and a listed arm of state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation, states that due to “weak government control” the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Pakistan is likely to cross 1 million by the end of July.