By sending Nong Rong, a Chinese politician with close links to United Front Works Department (UFWD), as ambassador to Pakistan, Beijing is making an all out bid to influence South Asia in support of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and divide critics of the Xi Jinping regime. Ambassador Nong replaces career diplomat Yao Jing in Islamabad this week.
A study of Chinese ambassadors posted in South Asia shows that Beijing’s present representative to Bangladesh Li Jiming and former Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Cheng Xueyuan had links with the UFWD. This organisation, in which President Xi Jinping served for many years, is mandated with psychological operations with the task of influencing political, economic and intellectuals in other countries and the objective of systematic penetration into systems of targeted country.
Even the Chinese ambassador in Nepal Hou Yonqi is an Asian affairs expert with an PLA intelligence background as she was Director, Department of External Security Affairs in 2012-2013. Fluent in Urdu, Ambassador Hou has been tasked by Beijing to keep the communist movement in Nepal together and not split between Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and party president Pushpa Kamal Dahal or Prachanda.