There is something Beijing wants from Tajikistan. It is the Pamir region. The region accounts for 45 per cent of Tajikistan's territory.
Why does China want it?
China says that the Pamir has been its part as a part of history. It is something Beijing has said for every territory it tries to annexe.
It's China's well-known skill with alternative facts.
One Chinese historian recently wrote an article. He said China lost Pamir during the last years of the Qin dynasty.
'Pamir was outside China [for] 128 years due to the pressure of world powers', these are the words of Cho Yau Lu.
But the research conducted by us said otherwise. What he is claiming is that 45 per cent of Tajikistan belongs to China.
In 2011, China forced Tajikistan to cede 1000 sq km of Pamir land to Beijing.
This was 5.5 per cent of the total land China wants to grab. The dragon kept fighting for the remaining 94.5 per cent.
In 2019, the Washington Post ran a front-page story on Chinese security presence in the Pamirs. The article quoted a Chinese soldier who said the troops have been in the region for three to four years. He said: “We’ve been here three, four years.”
China is trying to buy Pamir by debt-trapping Dushanbe. Tajikistan joined the belt and road initiative in 2017. At least 350 Chinese companies operate in the country.
As of this year, Beijing owns over half of Tajikistan's external debt. It is around 35.9 per cent of the country's GDP.
In the past, Tajikistan has paid off debts to China by ceding mining rights. China is hoping Pamir maybe next. It is already publishing articles to push this narrative.
This article in Baidu points out that China has shelled out 7 billion dollars for Tajikistan.
And it hints at a repeat of 2011. 'They returned Pamirs to us because they are grateful for China's help.'
It allowed China to build border posts & airports in the Pamir region. This is a lesson for all countries taking Chinese loans.