| by Pearl Thevanayagam
(September 23, 2014, Bradford UK, Sri Lanka Guardian) First there was Modi mania and now it is China’s turn. China is now on a hyper mode and its intervention in Sri Lankan economy would spell long-term doom. It is taking over our ports, highways and power-plants. It has planted itself in Trincomalee and sending its nuclear warships into our terrain. It is virtually running our country.
The present government has unholy alliance with countries with abysmal human rights record on par with its own horrendous treatment of its ethnic minorities. Never mind China’s foreign policy; it does not even provide human rights to its own citizens. It limits two children per family to control its population. It also has a long history of killing off elders by throwing them out of windows since they no longer contribute to its economy.
Let us face it; China despite its Buddhist heritage has only one goal which is to accumulate at any price. China is not providing grants but loans which Sri Lanka needs to pay back with interest and by the way things are going Sri Lanka would become a slit-eyed Chinese enclave.
It is spreading its tentacles into the four corners of Asia and even far away Africa much to the chagrin of India, its competitor. Neither China nor India has Sri Lanka’s interest at heart. It is a crying shame and indictment on the government that it plays into their hands while taxing its citizens to pay the price for its opulent showcase developments which are bereft of any benefits for the ordinary citizen.
There was a time when Sri Lanka would not touch China with a barge pole. Their goods were tin made and not to be trusted unlike the British goods which were made to last. China has not changed one bit since then.
This country is being sold by the present government at the expense of its populace for their own selfish interests. Ahead of Japan’s premier’s visit PLA has planted its ships on the shores of Sri Lanka for which purpose there is no answer.
The country is in debt for kingdom to come to China. We are being sold lock, stock and barrel to China and there is no doubt we would go the way of Chagos islanders who were shipped out of their country because US deemed it fit to base its military encampment in the Indian archipelago. UK was complicit in selling off the island of Diego Garcia and declared the Chagossans were not the original settlers but indentured labourers.
The Chagos islanders who loved their pets were set sail to board the ships to Mauritius never to return and the dogs incinerated by the British who revered their own dogs in 1971. The horses were fed while the islanders starved. British PM Harold Wilson declared in the seventies that Chaggosians were but indentured labourers and not the original settlers of Diego Garcia which was an utter lie.
Diego Garcia now holds one of US major five military bases in the Indian Ocean and UK was its ally. China is coming close to occupying the sub-continent as its strategic mile post to extend its hegemony over and above US surveillance. According to John Pilger, Al Qaeda suspects were detained and tortured in Diego Garcia (the archipelago in the Indian Ocean of which Chagos Island is one) by the US.
While the British mention Asia it means India and its sub-continent whereas US cites Asia as China. Will Sri Lanka become another Diego Garcia thanks to the government’s myopic vision and sell its assets to the Chinese?
The independent media and intelligentsia are awakening to the fact the country is being eroded by the Rajapaksa regime and its boorish behaviour would cause its death knell since international probe into its stubborn stance of denying it committed war crimes. Garnering support from China, Belarus or some African states abysmal human rights track records would not placate UNHTRC which will abide by international norms and covenants already in place.
It is in the interest of our country the Rajapaksa regime is boycotted and its genuflection before the Chinese is curbed.
(The writer has been a journalist for 25 years and worked in national newspapers as sub-editor, news reporter and news editor. She was Colombo Correspondent for Times of India and has contributed to Wall Street Journal where she was on work experience from The Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley, California. Currently residing in UK she is also co-founder of EJN (Exiled Journalists Network) UK in 2005 the membership of which is 200 from 40 countries. She can be reached at email@example.com)