25 October, 2020

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China’s Contretemps On Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Issues

By R Hariharan

 Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

At the end of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet (CHOGM) in Colombo on November 17, Sri Lanka President Rajapaksa is probably a happy man having seen through the prestigious event despite global media focus on Sri Lanka’s alleged war crimes issue and its fall out. Whether international community agrees or not, his supporters would claim his stewardship of the CHOGM in Colombo in spite of a strong international campaign against Sri Lanka for alleged war crimes and human rights aberrations as yet another ‘victory’ of their hero.

So it must have come as a mild shock for him when China’s foreign ministry spokesman called upon Sri Lanka to “make efforts to protect and promote human rights” while answering a media question on the issue of Sri Lanka hosting the CHOGM.

The spokesman added that this was an issue within the Commonwealth, “but at the same time I believe that on the human rights issue, dialogue and communication must be enhanced among countries…Due to differences in economic and social development of different countries, there could be differences on human rights protection. So what is important is that the relevant country should make efforts to protect and promote human rights while other countries in the world should provide constructive assistance.”

Though there was nothing spectacular in the statement, they assume significance because China made it at a crucial time when global focus was on Sri Lanka’s human rights record. China had always felt “the Sri Lankan government and people were capable of handling their own affairs,” as China’s foreign ministry spokesman explained in March 2012 when Sri Lanka was hauled up before the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on concerns over human rights violations. China believed that “dialogue and cooperation” as the fundamental way out for the human rights dispute in Sri Lanka.

China had been the main supporter of a whole lot of countries like Sudan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka when hauled up in UN forums for their poor rights record. Contempt for international opinion on its human rights aberrations is one thing that China had long shared with Sri Lanka. Both countries have a chip on their shoulders about the Western world’s hypocrisy in commenting on human rights record of other countries when they choose to ignore their own gross human rights violations committed during their fight against terrorism and extremism resulting in loss of innocent civilian lives.

Basically, China is opposed using country-specific human rights resolution to apply pressure on erring nations which had generally been India’s stand. In May 2009 at a special session of the UNHRC, China joined hands with India to ensure the defeat of a resolution sponsored by Germany and 17 other nations asking Sri Lanka to ensure rights to minorities in their resolution. Instead China and India ensured the success of a competing Sri Lankan resolution congratulating it for wiping out a major terrorist threat!

When the U.S. brought a resolution calling upon Sri Lanka to act upon alleged rights violations for the first time  at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessio in March 2012 , China saw it as a move to “impose pressure” on Sri Lanka. Before the resolution came up for voting, China strongly opposed the move claiming that Sri Lanka had made great strides in promoting human rights and national reconciliation process.  Significantly, India changed its stance and voted for the U.S. resolution on this occasion.

It should be noted that China’s strong support of Sri Lanka in 2012 came after Sri Lanka Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa visited Beijing earlier in the month. His meeting with Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie resulted in both countries pledging to deepen their strategic ties. The Chinese minister stressed that China would continue to support “Sri Lanka’s efforts in safeguarding state independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” which became a constant refrain since then.

Though China is agreeable to absorbing “rational human rights ideas from other countries” it does not accept the Western human rights ideas upholding that people were born equal as it feels people are not born equal and need to brought up to become so. Based on its own experience, China maintains human rights not only involve political rights but also economic and social rights.

At the same time, China wants be seen increasingly as a responsible global power and not merely as an economic and military giant. So in the past, whenever there is strong international pressure on critical issues, China has not hesitated to dilute its stand. For instance when there was world wide acclaim for Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy’s landslide victory in Myanmar elections in 1990, China was the first country to send its ambassador to congratulate the NLD, though it never supported the movement for democracy. In keeping with international trends, China supported Myanmar’s 2008 “democratic” constitution and the 2010 multiparty elections despite its earlier stand of not interfering in internal affairs of the country.

China’s national interest and peace and tranquillity in its neighbourhood seem to dictate its international conduct, rather than the strength of its foreign relations with smaller countries. Keeping such Chinese contretemps in mind, Sri Lanka must be worried about China’s unexpected statement on Sri Lanka’s human rights and wonder whether is having second thoughts on its unflinching support to Sri Lanka on the human rights question. And that may queer the pitch of Sri Lanka’s stand in the face of increasing international pressure on human rights issues.

As China is now a member of the UNHRC, its support will be crucial to Sri Lanka when it faces the U.S. sponsored resolution for the third time on its accountability over human rights aberrations at the UNHRC session in March 2014. So it is not surprising that Sri Lanka is already talking in terms of seeking China’s support, among others, when the U.S. resolution is tabled. Sri Lanka foreign office spokesman said, “We want all countries to support us including China who have maintained strong ties with us.” It is significant that China came in for special mention, while India was ignored perhaps as a hopeless case. Sri Lanka will be on tenterhooks to see how China handles the issue as a “responsible” member of the UNHRC when the U.S. resolution comes up in March 2014.

*Col R Hariharan, a retired Military Intelligence specialist on South Asia, served with the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka as Head of Intelligence. He is associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies and the South Asia Analysis Group. E-Mail: colhari@yahoo.com   Blog: www.colhariharan.org

Courtesy:

1. South Asia Analysis Group Paper No 5607 dated November 21, 2013   http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/node/1410

2. Chennai Centre for China Studies C3S Paper No.2039 dated November 21, 2013 http://www.c3sindia.org/srilanka/3795

This article may be read in continuation of South Asia Analysis Group Paper No. 5595 dated  November 7, 2013, titled “China cashing on India’s Sri Lanka woes” available at URL: http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/node/1396)

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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    Must be the work of tamil die-asspora living in china ;-) [this is what the kavun eaters will say!]

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      Here’s an advice, don’t count on China to work against Sri Lanka. You will be thoroughly disappointed oneday.

  • 0
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    Peace Lover
    You should change your name to LTTE hater anywhere in the world anyone fart against chin lanka you blame the LTTE
    May be you are right past 30 years one man movement ruled more than 2/3 of sea and inlands
    China got what they want and now maintain their relationship with rest of the world to keep up their export economy
    Now china is starting to sing bye bye birdie

    • 0
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      @Pasel,I suggest that you brush up on your intelligence level a bit and on whats been happening recently,as you fail to see the sarcasm in my post !

      (as for your information yes i hate the LTTE and its late despotic leader to the core!)

      • 0
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        Why keep talking of the LTTE, when it is defunct. Similarly why talk about a non-existing (at least not existing significantly)LTTE rump? Surely the countries that did not permit the LTTE will not permit its rump to exist? There is of course a Tamil diaspora in most Western countries, but they operate openly and democratically.

        Sengodan. M

        • 0
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          Sengodan, yes but this Tamil diaspora must be more critical of the LTTE. I have not heard that criticism from many quarters. Maybe I am missing something?

          • 0
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            When will the majority of Sinhalese society condemn and move away from the Sinhala supremacist thinking that has been the norm in SL for many decades now. It was Sinhala supremacism that started the war in the first place. All one sees even now is GOSL furthering Sinhala hegemony.

            • 0
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              PalmSquirrell

              “. It was Sinhala supremacism that started the war in the first place.”

              They didn’t start the war in the first place.

              They made your life so difficult that you started the war and they finished it off lock, stock and barrel, not only killing your people but also your aspiration to stage another uprising.

        • 0
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          “Surely the countries that did not permit the LTTE will not permit its rump to exist?”

          Sengodan,

          Are sure? Please read Galleon Rajaratnam’s case file. You will find, US touched only the bigger fish and let others go. How come Adele Balasingam still can live peacefully in the West? How come LTTE’s overseas advisors and other financiers could still carry out their campaigns openly in the West? Both advisors and financiers are members of LTTE by their association. Rajaratnam’s dossier mentions Sangam as a LTTE front yet they still operate freely in USA.

          • 0
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            hela

            “How come Adele Balasingam still can live peacefully in the West?”

            You should have demanded the extradition of Aunti Adele when Cameron was in town. Cowards, you blew it.

            Also as a concerned internationalist worrying too much about Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and other countries which are constantly under attack from west you should have dragged him to Hague. You blew it.

            Spotting stupids is not difficult they type just like you.

  • 0
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    Mr. Hariharan
    You are correct, this is exactly what Minister Mangala told in the news reel in 5 years ago said that China will betray exactly in a right time as they are also a slave of USA. If USA stopped buying Chinese product, china will beg. Wallmart alone buying things from China to extend 35 billion a year, and so on and on… 10 top companies buying fro 440 billion worth of goods from china and this is why China today rich from America. Mahinda made a blunt mistake, and when RANIL warned dont belive china as they are a slave of USA and its a part and parcial of USA agenda.

    AMERICA is super power no wonder for that and believe me, small fractions of Muslims againts US policy but 90% like USA as they know that even in USA majority Christians also in problem with Illuminati…. ( Athiest- Budhist-Yoga shit clan) so, there you are things started to turn againts Sri Lanka… so CHINA WILL BETRAY… Sinhalaya Modaya.

  • 0
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    Mr Hariharan, conveniently forgets the HR abuses done by India against the Muslims in Kashmir and Khalistan…

    • 0
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      You are a fool. What he is focusing on. All the garbage in the world should not come to Beira Lake

  • 0
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    Today CHINA which is exporting big is reported to be handling live
    human organs and its trafficking has reached Sri Lanka, as this
    article emanating from UK details:
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/gota-in-illegal-kidneys-trafficking-business-london-times-reveals/

    Gotas links to Privatr Hospitals and 5 Star Hotels only creates a
    suspicion. He himself wears a heart pace-maker and a very holy man?

    The most friendly country of Sri Lanka is C H I N A, where alleged
    forced live organ harvesting is taking place. Transplants have gone
    up by 300% in China and this led to the source – Prisons!

    An on-line Petition to the UN on this topic by concerned Doctors can be signed before 30-11-13 here please:-

    http://www.dafoh.org/petition-to-the-united-nations/

    Other links of interest are:
    http://www.organharvestinvestigation.net
    http://www.staatsorgane.org/
    http://www.igfm.ch/organraub.html
    http://www.david-kilgour.com/
    & Facebook to those interested in the truth.

  • 0
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    A terrific article!This guy is no Darisha,Thisaranee,Paki,Bahu or a So called Proff or Doc who keep on wasting our time.Come on CT lets have such down to earth articles.Of course we need articles by clowns to keep us going.

    • 0
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      You are a fool. What he is focusing on. All the garbage in the world should not come to Beira Lake

  • 0
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    China has at least begun to talk of human rights. What is the great democratic India of Gandhi and Nehru doing other than to continue to defend the most corrupt and despotic Sri Lankan regime as a ‘friendly neighbour’? Friendly to whom in India?

    Sengodan. M

  • 0
    0

    All Sri Lanka has to do is expand the “investigation” to IKPF era so that Hariharn here stands exposed for mass raping really isnt it? Those who live in glass houses must not throw stones really isnt it?

    MI5 spy station the ICRC was asked to be vacated by Gota. Obviosuly the decision has now been reversed. The British may keep spying in the Indian Subcontinent. Its Deja Vu of RAW involvement all over again. Someone piggyback on the Gon Demala for secondy agenda yet again.

    • 0
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      ..Expand the investigation…….:-)
      .
      Don’t you have to start the investigation to expand it!
      .
      :-)

  • 0
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    Col. Hariharan,

    What about accountability regarding human rights violations,as far as India is concerned? Will India say no because of the skeletons it has in its huge Kahmirian cupboard?

    Sengodan. M

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      No No that’s a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. Therefore no one other than India and Pakistan has any business poking their ugly nose into that issue — not US, not UNHRC, no one.

      Sri Lanka case on the other hand is an “internal” matter of Sri Lanka so every Tom Dick and Harry from India to South Afria to London to New York has the right to comment, criticize and set deadlines!

    • 0
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      Hello there,

      What about accountability regarding human rights violations,as far as India is concerned?

      Thats interesting. Your questioning seems to suggest you have a high regard for Human Rights and welfare. Didn’t you sometime back glorify LTTE here somewhere? Were you glorifying their humanitaratian work by any chance?

      • 0
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        Vibhushana

        “Didn’t you sometime back glorify LTTE here somewhere? “

        Premadasa and his army too did exactly the same.

  • 0
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    People(China) in Glass houses should not throw stones

    • 0
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      or People in Glass houses should not undress with ligts on!!!

  • 0
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    People in Glass Houses should not throw stones.

    China you got it.

    • 0
      0

      or People in Glass houses should not undress with ligts on!!!

  • 0
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    I think our Col. R. Hariharan is trying to really ‘stretch’ what China actually said. There is nothing in the comments made by China which suggest that China is critical of Sri Lanka’s human rights record.

    On the contrary, the following statement suggests that China wants the international community to understand that economic & social issues impact on a country’s human rights protection systems and that China expects other countries to provide constructive assistance. The statement:

    “but at the same time I believe that on the human rights issue, dialogue and communication must be enhanced among countries…Due to differences in economic and social development of different countries, there could be differences on human rights protection. So what is important is that the relevant country should make efforts to protect and promote human rights while other countries in the world should provide constructive assistance.”

    • 0
      0

      Indeed, Sri Lanka could take a page out of China’s book. Prior to the handover of Hong Kong back to China the UK was making noises about the introduction of democracy in the territory. The Chinese didn’t argue, they didn’t come up with any justification for ignoring the British demands, they simply said, “Don’t interfere with the internal affairs of China!”

  • 0
    0

    R Hariharan is not a scholar. He should cease to write in columns such as the Colombo Telegraph and let more seasoned bonafide analysts comment on contemporary foreign affairs be it China, Sri Lanka or India. Hariharan is just a hackneyed, cliched Tamil Brahmin with mediocre intellect – who deep down is anti-Sri Lankan Tamil!

    • 0
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      A Sri Lankan

      How about Irathina Valli commenting on current affairs. Wouldn’t it be brilliant.

      Please invite her to contribute as she seems to have support of old codgers.

  • 0
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    To demonstrate the man’s stupidity – CHOGM was hardly a prestigiuos event. It was full of noise and controversy. Hariharan – once again is a Tamil Brahmin of little intellect.

    • 0
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      A Sri Lankan

      ” Hariharan – once again is a Tamil Brahmin of little intellect”

      Did you expect all Brahmins to be great intellectuals?

  • 0
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    China with its new President with a very high standard of integrity showing the strongest leadership since Deng Xia Ping with its newly acquired status as one of the most important global powers with more than fifty two ethnic communities enjoying equality within cannot be seen continuing to fund Sri Lanka indiscriminately to camouflage its human rights violations with stories of infrastructure development.Bensen

  • 0
    0

    How many war crimes is Hariharan guilty of. As head of Intelligence of IPKF, he no doubt has blood drenched hands, because IPKF shelled civilian centers , raped and looted Tamils.

  • 0
    0

    Well said, Native. Keep it up. Shall we meet at Nandi Kadol tonight by moon light? A day to remember for both you and I, isn’t it?

  • 0
    0

    Looks like the south Indian leftovers in SL are hyper excited about Chinese statement.

    Bad news as usual for Tamils. China never mentioned anything about Tamils!!

    Get real modayas!

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