Both diplomats are recent appointments, in Mr Zhang’s case because his predecessor, Ma ‘Blubbermouth‘ Jisheng 马继生, was defrocked and reportedly detained for spying for Ms Shino’s country.
A delegation from the Chuvash Republic, a federal subject of Russia, led by its premier Ivan Motorin, paid a visit last Monday to the Chengdu headquarters of Sichuan Road and Bridge Group (SRBG, 四川路桥). There he met SRBG chairman Sun Yun 孙云, who referred to possible activities of the Group in Chuvashia as a contribution to the ‘New Silk Road Economic Belt’ (新丝绸之路经济带), the current Chinese administration’s name for a grand geopolitical project that has been variously called “China’s Marshall Plan“, “a shift in China’s strategic thought” and “not China’s Marshall Plan“.
No specific projects seem to have been announced for SRBG to marshal in Chuvashia, but the Republic has been going through a bout of economic cooperation with Sichuan province for some months now. The most visible investment so far is Xilin 西林 Group’s ‘agricultural park’ (楚瓦什四川农业合作园区, агропарк Чувашия-Сычуань), expected to be finished by 2020 (Sichuan Daily, Vesti, Sovetskaya Chuvashiya). To my knowledge, SRBG have no activities in Russia at the moment.
Sichuan Road and Bridge come up from time to time in this blog because they’re the contractors for the steelwork of Hålogaland bridge, a major project under construction in Norway and the first of its kind for a Chinese company. There was this background article about everyone involved followed by copious updates.