Police have ordered some low-end hotels in the Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou not to allow guests from five Muslim-majority countries to stay. Three hotels with rooms costing about $23 a night said that around the month of March they had received notices from Police asking them to turn away people from five Muslim countries namely, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan. “I am not clear about the reason. We just can’t take them,” one hotel worker said over phone. On the face of it the notice appeared to apply only to cheaper hotels at the bottom of the price scale implying the possibility of use of such hotels by Muslim terrorists.
China’s foreign ministry however defended saying that it had never heard of the policy.
All of the five countries have been beset by terrorist attacks in the past few years, with Pakistan acquiring the unenviable reputation as the hub of international terrorism. It has 38 terror training centres out of which 26 are operational. Ten of the terror camps are used by the dreaded terror outfit Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, five by Hijbul Mujahidin and ten for other jihadi elements to train and push around 30 terrorists to India and Afghanistan every month.
Apart from Pakistan, the other countries which are virtually on the Chinese watch list include Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan who are in states of war. Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post said on Friday (26th August) the police diktat appeared to be a security measure coinciding with a development forum being held in Guangzhou this week, and also ahead of next week’s G20 summit in Hangzhou, a city 1,000km away. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang expressed unawareness about such an order being issued in Guangzhou. “I’ve never heard that there is this policy being followed in China,” Lu told a daily news briefing.”
Moreover, as far as China is concerned, our policy in principle is that we encourage people from China and other countries to have friendly exchanges and are willing to provide various convenient policies in this regard,” Lu added. Some say that since 2008 Olympics, China has followed a general policy of allowing foreigners to stay in only 4 or 5 start hotels for optimum utilisation of Olympics infrastructure. The move could be to drive such tourists from low-end to quality hotels for better image and earning.
If such presumption is true, then why should it apply only to top-end terror countries like Pakistan? Pakistan must be surprised at such move of support from its all weather friend! What happened to the friendship, higher than Himalaya and deeper than oceans? This appears to be another absorbing side of Pak-China friendship. China opposes Indian move to brand Pak terrorists. But when it comes to its own interests, it tries to insulate itself from the malignant effects of Pak terror. China has shown that when it comes to issues of security of its citizens, it can never allow friendship with Pakistan to come in the way. Certainly China-Pak friendship which is slated to be – ‘Deeper than the oceans and higher than the Himalayas’ is under its severest test’.
It is usual for all Pakistani politicians to revel in Chinese friendship forgetting Indian experience with China. World has not forgotten the India-Chini bhai bhai euphoria of late 1950s which China ended abruptly with 1962 invasion. For China, nothing matters more than its national interest. Rather than living in a fool’s paradise, Pakistan should learn its lesson and gauge Chinese intentions. Once it reigns in terror perpetrated by its non-state actors, India could be a much better neighbour.