19 November, 2018

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An Open Letter To The Chinese Ambassador In Sri Lanka

By Liyanage Amarakeerthi

Prof. Liyanage Amarakeerthi

His Excellency, Mr. Yi Xianliang

Ambassador,

Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka

Dear Mr. Xianliang,

I hope this finds you well. I hope very much that you are extremely happy about Sri Lankan political mess to whose making you have contributed as well. I am a Sri Lankan citizen, a university professor and an honest tax payer and, by extension, a committed contributor to the huge repayment installments of the loans we have taken from your country.

I have seen the Hambantota Harbour from where you are able to launch military-naval activities of the Indian Ocean. You know what? I am extremely grateful to you for holding India at bay – I mean quite literally at ‘the Bay of Bengal.’ I have also seen the Shangri-La Hotel by the Galle Face Green – an imposing building that belittles the statue of our beloved former Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike. Recently, our equally beloved former secretary of defense, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa held one of his political meetings at Shangri-la. Our villagers praise you to the sky for letting him have that epoch-making meeting at Shangri-La. Since those villagers sing your praise in Sinhala you might not understand it. Here I am reporting the facts to you. You know what your Excellency- if you help our hero GR to come to power you are certainly opening a crucial niche in the market for another Chinese product: White Van. Make them reliable, and user-friendly at night. Slightly narrower with better ground clearance would be better so that those vans can traverse narrow and pot-holed streets on which normally under-paid journalists live.  

Speaking of Shangri-La, your excellency, we did not bother about who owns that prime piece of land because you have come here to save us from the West and also from the North – the immediate north-India. India gave us Buddhism. But now, in order to protect that Buddhism, even from India, we need China. I know that you have brought us nothing but China. For example, even a little toy that my daughter plays with is from China. They are very good. For one thing, they break quickly so that my daughter does not have to play with a single set of toys for a long time. I go shopping in my own home town and buy some other toys which are also from China.

Apart from my daughter’s toys and the white vans I want you to export to us in future, I have another attachment to China. I am a big fan of Chinese literature. In my courses in comparative literature I often use Chinese literary works in Sinhala translations and Chinese literary theory in English translations. I do not read Chinese. But I am familiar with scholarly books by Stephen Owen, Earl Minor and others who have written wonderfully about Chinese literature and theory. I use some Chinese films in my classes, and To Raise the Red Lantern, Red shogun, and Farewell My Concubine are my all-time favorites.  And there are many others that you might not particularly like because, as any good art work does, they are critical of the status quo of the society of their origin, i.e. the China you are ‘ambassadoring’ here. 

So, your Excellency, you can see that I am more than qualified to write this letter to you. I am reporting a certain sentiment prevalent in my country these days. Following observations are not necessarily mine. Thus I have heard – to use a phrase found in canonical Buddhist texts:

Rumour has it that you are behind some of the political dealings taking place in our country today. You must have seen, if you have good Sinhala translators in the embassy, our beloved former minister SB Dissanayake trying to cut a deal with a parliamentarian on the opposite side. Did you see the number? I do not know how to write that number here. It is about RS 500 millions. How did they get that kind of money? India is known to be stingy even though she wants to be the regional super power. The US is an already an imperialist in her retirement- at least she pretends to be so. For many Sri Lankans you are the only source of political bribe-money circulated in my country today. People claim that that your Port-city, the other half of Hambantota harbour, a part of Colombo harbour, and other stuff, known and unknown, are at stake, and you are required to throw in a bit of cash. That much I have heard both in august assemblies and on the street. 

Prompted by those rumours, here I am writing to you. In addition to being a university professor, I am working to build a truly democratic society that respects the rule of law. “Democracy” and “the rule of law” might not mean much in China. Over there, perhaps “rule by law” matters the most (That is also an argument heard everywhere in Sri Lanka.) But here, in my country, we have a long history of democracy- no matter how flawed that democracy is. If “democracy” sounds like something “crazy” to you, let me tell you this: some of us are working to build a socialist Sri Lanka. Does “socialist” sound familiar to you, your Excellency? Or is it already archaic in China? To achieve that (socialist Sri Lanka) I am working with a group of left parties. But if you throw in insane amount of Chinese money to our political scene, how can we practice principled politics? And you know very well that Embassies such as the US would not tolerate at least mildly socialist regimes. They are the ones who created the mass murderers such as Pinochets nearly everywhere. Now, despite your socialist history and the legacy of great Mao Zedong, you are bringing corrupted despots to power or supporting them to stay in power.

Your Excellency, if your money is used in the political game played here today, would you mind taking it back and holding onto it at least until the parliament of Sri Lanka resolves the crisis? After that you can invest that money in our country and bribe your way into winning huge development projects as you usually do (another fact heard on our streets), after the power struggles are settled domestically. 

Please let us settle this issue ourselves and take your bribe-money back. If you happen to know other embassies that throw money into this insane game please forward this letter to them as well.

Thank you

Sincerely yours

Liyanage Amarakeerthi

Professor

University of Peradeniya 

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Latest comments

  • 9
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    There is strong evidence China funded Mahinda Rajapakse’s 2015 election campaign. The report alleged that at least $7.6 million was dispensed .. The report alleged that at least $7.6 million was dispensed in Rajapakse’s a/c in local banks. The cheques were delivered to persons working at temple trees official residence of the President. With 10 days to go before polls, around $3.7 million was distributed in cheques $678,000 to print campaign T-shirts and other promotional materials. and $297,000 to buy supporters gifts, including women’s sari etc. Another $38,000 was paid to a popular Buddhist monk who was supporting Rajapakse. while two checks totalling $1.7 million were delivered by volunteers to Temple Trees.

    Read more at:
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/64798521.cms?diatimes.com/articleshow/64798521.cms?

    • 7
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      Wow, Amarakeerthi, you are so wrong! Pl. get your facts right!
      China owns only 10.3 %of Sri Lanka’s external debt, while it is Japanese Govt. and ADB that own much bigger shares (25%) of Lanka’s external debt. World Bank has 12 %. IMF ?? India 3%
      The largest chunk of Sri Lanka’s external debt is primarily owned by the Asia Development Bank which is also owned and operated by Japan and US, and Japanese Govt. JICA (which is a proxy for USA in Indian Ocean geopolitics), and World Bank IMF.
      These are Central Bank of Sri Lanka figures.
      Lanka’s debt trap and slide of the Lankan rupee is due to Japanese and ADB loans was triggered by the dubious Nomura Ratings Agency, Tokyo (which bought Lehman Brothers after it crashed), releasing Fake new and numbers about the magnitude of Sri Lanka’s debt in its Democlese Index. These figures were challenge by the SL Central Bank and Nomura accepted its mistake. Sri lanka is a small economy, smaller than most big multinational corporations and can be played and preyed on easily also due to corrupt and incompetent politicians in charge.
      That the Wickramasinghe govt. was letting the Lankan rupee lose value against the USD while making the country highly import dependent also with the recently signed Singapore FTA (without due diligence to improve domestic industry and production), and the sense that neoliberal “reform” agenda of Wickramasinghe was bad for Lanka also given spiking petrol prices, and rising cost of living, were likely reasons for Sirisens’s speedy coup rather than any drawn out No confidence motion in parliament against Wickramasinghe who has been badly damaged by the Bondscam. There was and is a sense that ordinary people are paying for the Luxury life-styles of politicians and excessive import bill under Ranil’s Jarapalanaya govt. as he protected Mahinda Jarapassa these past 3.5 years.

    • 7
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      Prof; AK:
      There is a little saying: “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. Lanka university dons its seems are very poor researchers these days. Please do your homework and proper Research before shooting off your mouthy, as you seem to be weak in the subjects of political economy and geopolitics in the Indian Ocean region stuck in quaint Peradeniya.

      Here is your research assignment on foreign Fake Aid to Lanka by US, Japan, China, India to further their security and business interests of Global 1 percent in Indian Ocean: Pl. find out about all USA Trumpland’s funds that have been given to Bondscam Ranil and his team of Economic Hit Men by the right wing Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to asset strip Sri Lanka these past 3 years?
      MCC has set up a “Land Bank” with Trimble and Co. and Mckinsey to buy and sell Sri Lanka’s lands on internet, and report back here? MCC promised 1 billion USD, 3 years ago but today this amount is down to 480 million for Fake Aid projects.

      • 3
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        Dr. Amare: In a nut shell, Sri Lanka is like Malaysia now, where Mahathir Mohamed who had sacked Anwar Ibrahim (and put him in prison on sodomy charges), joined forces with Ibrahim to stop the corrupt PM Najib from looting Malaysia further.. This is what the Sirisena-MR alliance is all about, stopping the looting and destruction of national institutions like Central Bank, Survey dept, etc.
        It is time for Bondscam Ranil and his Royal mafia who looted the people and destroyed the highest financial institution -CBSL-on instructions of his foreign handlers –MCC, IMF etc. and planning to asset strip and sell Lanka’s lands, marine resources, energy security and transport infrastructure to India, US, Japan, China, to get out!

        • 0
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          Amare thanks for your initiative, but pl. also write a letter to the Ambassador of Japan and head of ADB, as they are principally responsible for Lanka’s external debt trap, of course, with World Bank and IMF a close second, and ask them for DEBT CANCELLATION.

          Also, perhaps get some students and lecturers to protest outside ADB and Japanese embassy. Japan and ADB (who are US/ IMF proxies in the neoliberal “reforms” and fake Aid game). ADB has been building over priced highways with lots of bribes for corrupt local politicians and then flooding Lanka with Toyota SUVs and cars, also for duty free permit politicians. Japanese Fake “aid” benefits Japan’s businesses like Toyota and strategic interests (with USA)– mainly against China in Indian Ocean.
          Yesterday Bondscam Ranil said that the Colombo east terminal was to be sold without transparent international tender process – 80 percent to Japan and 20% to India after Lanka tax payers funds were used to Build the east terminal
          Sri Lanka has highest road density in South Asia and needs good public transport but Japan and ADB have been blocking construction of rapid rail and flooding Lanka with cars and overpriced highways that cause air pollution. Please get your fact right Prof AL!

          This would

      • 1
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        You must be crazy to connect Ranil with The Trump administration. I’m a Republican US citizen and our govt got nothing to do with Ranil. Let me tell you something else. Different parties means nothing to us after elections. Then we work together for the sake of our country. What took place in SriLanka never happens in a civized society. To me it looks like your brain is in your ass to make wild claims.

    • 1
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      The Chinese probably want the Rajapaksas dead to cover their tracks and to bury all traces of their dealings.

  • 4
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    our crisis is the result of our behaviour…..China is proud of their present….due to unity and hardwork…but we are good at hitting the head hard on strong rocks…sorry …

  • 2
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    thank you China

  • 2
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    There is a marginalized old Sri Lankan community in Sri Lanka living for about five decades. Nor Chinese or Sri Lankan politicians give a damn about them.

  • 1
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    TO the retarded Lankans, what professor has mentioned here is not about legal loans and debt. What he is talking is about a crook country which manipulates its own currency, manipulate the markets, steal tec from others, known for piracy, has no originality, no transparency, no democracy, working on a devious plan to trap idiots like you with debt, forming puppet governments in by illegally financing, promoting crooks to grab power, dump there low quality products on others, hack information and manipulate election outcomes of failed nations to their favor . You retards already have personal loans to the tune of 2 trillion rupees which matures by this year. When you do not honor you will loose credibility and ability to borrow any money.The debt treasuries/bonds will have no value. So no sensible country including China is going to lend money to a looser.Shameless Lankans in apparent denial biting the hands which fed them.

  • 0
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    I am not a trump lover. But I am with him on China. Initially when threatened with tariffs China started flexing it muscle and chest thumping with war cries. But kept doubling the threat and the whole world witnessed how China fizzled out with their tail between legs. As long they keep stealing others ideas and not have any of their own, they will be super power only in paper.

  • 2
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    In my openion this is all useless… China is not to be blamed for any of this… It’s very easy to always blame someone else and not our selves….
    Ask yourself this?
    Q. Who borrowed from China?
    A. A Sri Lankan Decision makers.
    Q. Who did the computations on debt repayment capacity when borrowing?
    A. A Sri Lankan decision.
    Q. We decided to expand in the south when it was certainly not going to bring any income?
    A. A Sri Lankan decision
    Q. Who decided to make such large ports and infrastructure without building small getting the business and then having a sustainable expansion?
    A. A Sri Lankan decision
    Q. Who decided to sell the then army head quarters to a Chinese company.?
    A. A Sri Lankan decision
    Q. Who decided not to grow local industries and not impose taxes on imports to encourage local industry, and then import everything from abroad?
    A. A Sri Lankan decision.
    Q. Who was unable to prove any of the corruption alligations of the previous regime?
    A. Sri Lankan leaders.
    Q. Who keeps on borrowing from China?
    A. Sri Lankan leaders.
    Now the most important question of them all..
    Q. Who put these Sri Lankan decision makers in to their powerful position?
    A. THE SRI LANKAN PEOPLE.
    Don’t blame China for furthering the goals of their country…. Blame the Sri Lankan leaders for not furthering and defending the goals of our beautiful nation…. And those who continuesly vote for the same band of crooks.
    On a side note as far as the law stands at the moment China cannot use Hambanthota for its military or bring in military ships.
    Dear Prof it’s easy to blame someone else but not your own people… But look at the honest truths.. if we elected proper individuals who made decisions for the countries betterment and not their own we would not be in this position today… That’s the truth.. We went behind China.. not the other way around….

  • 0
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    Dmitri hats off and a big SALUTE. You seems to be young ,educated yet matured with loads of commonsense (not every educated person has) . You are absolutely right. My opinion about Chins was in general about the country, at present. But The Lankan issue was created by us. The difference is if not China it would have been Russia. Recently Saudis bailed out Pakistan. I am sure it ain,t LOVE or empathy.Please do keep writing. Thank You. We desperately need more young people who still has the ability to think.

  • 0
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    Sri Lankan people survive on excuses and denial. If we are honest and if our politicians and leaders are not so much corrupt then this kind of eventuality will not occur. The country is corrupt from top to bottom. The so called educated and enlightened lot left behind in the country are also corrupt or opportunists or survivors. Anyone could be bought for money. As they say there are people prepared to sell their mothers and wives for money. Look at the people who play musical chairs in the parliament. Do they have any conscience or self respect. Even the so called educated few in the parliament too are corrupt. So what future awaits Sri Lanka?

    We need a new order if the country could survive. It is true being a small tiny country it has to face geopolitical realities and face the world of thieves. But with our unpatriotic crooks and criminals who are only interested in filling their pockets occupying the parliament no hope at all. Then why blame China or Japan or India?

    Until we see and accept our filth we will be losers. We always have a large group of opportunists representing both sides of the fence to prop the cabal so-called politicians and what else could happen. Just see the audacity with which the current ruthless drama is staged without any fear or worry or concern then what one could expect.

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