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Chinese envoy: Will expedite Rohingya repatriation efforts through talks

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Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming on Thursday said his country was trying to expedite the Rohingya repatriation efforts through holding talks with Bangladesh and Myanmar.

China always remains beside Bangladesh when it faces any problem, said Ambassador Li while attending a function at Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital.

Ambassador Li noted that China had been playing a role of “mediator” between Bangladesh and Myanmar during the past five years since the latest crisis happened in Rakhine State of Myanmar and had been working with relevant stakeholders, including UNHCR, to facilitate the early repatriation of the displaced people.

The Chinese envoy said throughout the Covid-19 pandemic China had stood beside Bangladesh with necessary assistance and it would continue to do so for developing the country’s medical sector.

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He said Cox’s Bazar was a significant location across the globe, so its Sadar hospital also bore great importance.

Ambassador Li handed over medical equipment – bio-chemistry analyzers, dental chairs, light cure machines and centrifuge machines – to 250-bed district Sadar hospital in Cox’s Bazar as a gift.

Cox’s Bazar Medical College Dean Professor Dr Anupam Barua accepted the equipment on behalf of the hospital.

Lawmaker of Cox’s Bazar-3 Shaimum Sarwar Kamal MP and Deputy Commissioner of Cox’s Bazar District Md Mamunur Rashid, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Shar Rezwan Hayat also attended and addressed the ceremony.

Ambassador Li first extended his sincerest wishes for the upcoming holy Eid-ul-Fitr and said that the Bangladesh government and people, though with its own limited resources, had generously hosted more than a million displaced people from Myanmar.

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“This has imposed a heavy medical burden on the local health resources. Today, the Embassy of China in Bangladesh donated a bunch of badly-needed medical equipment as a good will of the Chinese government and people,” he said.

All the medical equipment is state-of-the-art and of superior quality, which will come a long way to strengthen the capacity of Sadar hospital, said the ambassador.

In future, he said, China will continue supporting local health facilities with more new initiatives.

Lawmaker Kamal has said that China is one of the most important development partners of Bangladesh, and the Cox’s Bazar District expects more cooperation from China in various fields including the health sector in future.

Rohingya camps visit

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Earlier on Wednesday, ambassador Li went into the settlement camps in Cox’s Bazar and had in-depth exchanges with the displaced people from Myanmar. 

Ambassador Li visited 10 households of the displaced people in camps, and tried to learn about their living conditions and major concerns, according to the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.

He said China had been making efforts to improve the conditions in the camps and it would continue serving as a bridge of communication between Bangladesh and Myanmar, and playing a positive role in facilitating early repatriation.

Ambassador Li also visited two repatriation centers and one learning center in the camp area.

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Politics

Vast majority of Bangladeshis want good relations with neighbours: FM tells South Asia Correspondents

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Foreign Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud has said the vast majority of the people of Bangladesh now understand that it should have good relations with neighbours – for its own prosperity as well as that of the region.

He said his party (Bangladesh Awami League) is painted as a ‘pro-Indian’ party but AL is a pro-Bangladeshi party.

“There are anti-Indian elements. We specifically see this issue during elections. But the anti-Indian sentiment is gradually diminishing in Bangladesh,” he told the members of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia during an interaction in New Delhi on February 9.

The Foreign Minister said the tablet or capsule of blaming Awami League as a pro-India party does not work anymore like the past.

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“Today, the vast majority of the people understand that for the prosperity of Bangladesh and the region, neighbours should have good relations,” he said while responding to a question.

Asked about balancing relations, the Foreign Minister said Bangladesh-India relationship is not comparable to any other relations.

“Bangladesh’s relations with India are bonded by blood and shared sacrifice during the War of Liberation in 1971,” Hasan said.

He said although China is not Bangladesh’s immediate neighbor but it is a neighbor and a development partner of Bangladesh.

The Foreign Minister said they face a lot of challenges due to the wave of fake news. He said this is a problem even in Europe and shared how fake news was spread during Covid-19.

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He mentioned that this is an area where all need to work together. “We can work together to fight against fake news.”

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Last national election was open for all AL members for sake of democracy: PM Hasina

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday (9 Februay) said if she did not allow her party members to take part in last month’s election as independent candidates the democracy of the country would have been snatched away.

“If the election was not open for all (AL members), then not only the election would have been stained, the democracy of the country would have been hijacked too,” she said.

The prime minister was delivering her introductory speech at the extended meeting of Awami League at her official residence Ganabhaban.

This election was important to maintain the country’s status as a developing country, she said.

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“We should not forget the election manifesto that we announced before the election to retain this achievement. Every year during the budget formulation we follow the election manifesto,” she said.

Hasina, also the chief of ruling Awami League, said that her party has also opened the upcoming upazila elections for all her party members to make it participatory.

“It will also be scrutinised how much work has been done for the common people in the last 15 years while in power, and who could not deliver. Through it we will see who is accepted by the people,” she said.

She issued warning against any sort of confrontation in the upcoming local government elections.

“We do not want any kind of confrontation. Stern actions will be taken against the individuals responsible for it no matter who they are,” she said.

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Claiming that the 12th parliamentary election was free, fair and impartial, Hasina said that those who want to dispute the election, they must give clear evidence.

She said that elections have been held in many developed countries of the world, but these are yet to be accepted by their opponents.

“Even the post-election violence has resulted in murders. But the election in Bangladesh was very fair. Public administration, the armed forces, law and order enforcement and all those involved in the election have performed their duties impartially,” she claimed

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Political crisis nearing climax: Rizvi

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The BNP today said the country’s long-standing political crisis is now nearing its climax as people are taking to the streets risking their lives to resist a one-sided election.

“The chief election commissioner surrendered to Sheikh Hasina instead of protecting the interests of the people and taking proper steps to ensure a free, fair, and participatory election,” Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, senior joint secretary general of the party, said in a virtual press conference.

The BNP leader alleged that the EC announced the schedule for the next election ignoring the continuous movement for free and fair elections.

Rizvi also alleged that the commission announced the election schedule on the instruction of the government, ignoring the appeals of the country’s civil society, the international community, and foreign diplomats.

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“When the CEC announced the schedule, he should have also mentioned the time of voting, whether it will be at night, or during the daytime, or early morning.”

The BNP leader said the government has established a regime where those who demand free and fair elections are being attacked.

He said their ongoing movement to restore the power and rights of the people will be a warning for all the autocrats.

Rizvi said the BNP leaders and activists are being arrested indiscriminately. “If they [law enforcers] can’t detain them, they are arresting their fathers, fathers-in-law, younger brothers, and even women in the house.”

He said law enforcers arrested more than 12,900 leaders and activists in 289 cases across the country since October 28.

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