New Delhi, Feb 13: The murder of Chen Zhu in Pakistan has raised question on China increasing concern as it finances more than $50 billion of infrastructure projects across its South Asian neighbour for its flagship project One Belt One Road. Following the attack, Beijing called on Pakistan to take more measures to ensure the safety of its nationals.

The “One Belt, One Road” initiative, proposed in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, promotes expanding links between Asia, Africa and Europe, with billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.

An unidentified gunman had opened fire at least nine times on the 46-year-old Chinese Chen Zhu, managing director of the local unit of Shanghai-based Cosco Shipping Lines Co. Chen, who was hit in the head and later died in hospital, had relinquished his usual police escort during the February 5 national holiday.

In 2015 around 20,000 Chinese nationals have flocked to tap rising opportunities across Pakistan, according to a Chinese government estimate provided to Bloomberg in August. Security forces are struggling to extend protection, particularly to those, such as Chen, who fall outside the so-called official China-Pakistan Economic Corridor announced by Xi three years ago.

 Pakistan’s military has raised a 15,000 strong force to protect CPEC projects and has curtailed the movement of Chinese working at the sites.

Many countries along the Belt and Road “have great instability and political risks, Pakistan is one,” said Wang Yiwei, director of Renmin University’s Institute of International Affairs in Beijing and a former Chinese diplomat. “Chinese enterprises also need strong security companies as good as the ones in the West to protect overseas projects and personnel.”

One Belt One Road  

China pledged $124 billion in financial assistance, double of what the World Bank lent in 2016, for One Belt One Road. The plan involves building six economic corridors including CPEC criss-crossing different parts of Asia and Europe.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, also known as the One Belt and One Road Initiative, (OBOR), The Belt and Road, (B&R) and The Belt and Road Initiative, (BRI) is a development strategy proposed by Chinese Government that focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries, primarily the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and the ocean-going Maritime Silk Road (MSR). The strategy underlines China’s push to take a larger role in global affairs with a China-centered trading network.