15 December, 2017

Blog

China’s Pronouncement And Sri Lanka’s Obligation

By S. Sivathasan

S.Sivathasan

S.Sivathasan

Even when far too much is not read into China’s statement following the 18th Congress of the Communist Party, it is gleaming in its significance. For the first time, China has been vocal in her exhortation to Sri Lanka. Qin Gang the Foreign Ministry spokesman conveyed tersely, that Sri Lanka has to “make efforts to protect and promote human rights”. Not stopping at that he continues, “other countries in the world should provide constructive assistance”.

Background

The statement is plain but the implications are strong when the setting is noted. It comes at the conclusion of the Commonwealth Summit, where 53 countries participated and Sri Lanka played host. Primus inter pares at the summit was the British Prime Minister. His determined stand on Sri lanka investigating war crimes, rectifying rights violations and restoring the rights of Tamils was impressive. As important was the path breaking Congress in China commencing a week earlier than the Summit and concluding a day after. The sequence and timing add meaning and strength to the spokesman’s words.

Russia

The Party Congresses, 20th of USSR in in1956 and the 18th of China in 2013, bear some points of comparison or even of contrast. The former was 39 years after the Revolution, just three years subsequent to the passing away of the dreaded dictator Stalin. He was fakely idolized for 29 years and depedestalised shortly thereafter. The Congress Session itself came to be noted for ‘Destalinisation’ .

Kruschev’s four hour disclosures at midnight on the last day to senior communist party members, made quite a number of the indoctrinated faithful faint. The stage was getting set for unprecedented change.

The Congress was certainly a historic event, but only for initiating a process. After a succession of leaderships, it was given to Gorbachev in 1989 to consummate it with emphasis on transparency and democracy. The Revolution took a heavy toll and 72 years to reach the threshold of democracy. Cast aside was the very architect of reforms. How correctly an English historian had said decades earlier, “The worst moment for a regime is when it begins to reform”. Sri Lankans therefore have to live with a regime that has learnt this lesson, ie prolonging life by not reforming.

China

In this context the gentle prodding of a great power – China, assumes importance. It is reassuring to the Tamils because she is veering from her past practice of standing by a friendly nation whether right or wrong when geopolitical considerations counted for much. Her independent stance now demonstrates that she has grown fully into her own. She has shown her obligation of acting objectively by the norms and expectations of the UN institution in Geneva. No longer can Sri Lanka take a great power’s support for granted.

Compared to Russia, China’s trajectory has been significantly different in the phase of revolutionary struggle, in post revolution consolidation and in development. “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” was intended to convey much by describing the contrast. Historical differences account for the change of features. Yet there were points of comparison as well.

The spokesman captures them when he speaks for China. The importance comes when he extends to other countries the human rights compulsions applying to China. The words “Due to the differences in the economic and social development in different countries”, may be taken to mean that economic and social conditions in China had to mature to the desired level before she could embark on democratization with a liberal outlook on human rights. It also implies that different countries can respond only at varying times, as their stage of socio economic growth permits. But this is no blank cheque for any rogue country to go on a rampage. It is only an academic position and by no means exculpates Sri Lanka.

China has taken 64 years after the revolution to give meaning and scope to democracy. Mao’s rigorous iron fist over political, social and economic reordering was all pervasive for nearly 30 years. To critics of the period of struggle as well as the post revolution era, Mao’s devastating quip was “Revolution is not a Tea Party”. It took a further 34 years for Deng and a succession of leaderships to regenerate society and then to speak of democracy and human rights at the Party Congress in 2013.

Now China stands poised to properly align her domestic and foreign policy and to advise member nations of the UN in observing the tenets valued internationally. A quarter century ago ‘the movement for democracy’ attempted to graft democracy in China. It was seen by the authorities as an alien bud for an indigenous species. The effort trumpeted with fanfare at Tien An Men Square, withered prematurely away. The regime is now mature enough for change is the assessment of the leadership.

Subtle

Kissinger speaks often about how subtle the Chinese leadership was. This was in their speech and action. He was greatly impressed by the unobtrusive manner in which China thawed the cold relationship with US and made it warm. His reference was particularly to Mao and Chou En Lai. In inimitable ways, Deng Ziao Ping, made not ripples but waves in China and in the global economy. The world is yet experiencing the effects and China’s leadership is continuing to reap the benefits for their people. The most recent pronouncement made staidly without words of learned length portend many changes for the word and for her own self.

China does the spectacular passively, veering from a splash. The very countenance of the leaders from Mao to Qin displays imperturbable serenity of a nation well composed. Karaka once pointed out that the appearance of a leader portrays the condition of a nation. Gandhi he said depicted an India, “half fed and semi clothed”. The wealth and assertive confidence of China have become pervasive. The importance or consequence of her message is left to the receivers to respond to. Ignoring it is peril to those whose trust in China’s perennial support is misplaced.

With over thirty years of consistent progress, per capita income is at respectable levels and more than 300 million have been raised above poverty line. The time is now to address human rights issues at home and she has gone close to that necessity. Her membership in the UN Human Rights Council mandates honouring these concepts in other countries as well. Overlooking them in friendly countries has now ceased to be an option.

Visible Changes

The military leader of Burma who had been immune to the people’s voice and to international opinion attuned himself to them in recent times. In tandem, China supportive of the military ruler hitherto, changed track and became sensitive to people’s views, opinion of the international community and to the stance of Aung San Suu Kyi. What does the world glean from the change of political position of a powerful nation like China? Such nations as were accustomed to dictatorial rule, either have to change to democratic ways or face inevitable ostracism and sanctions.

Sri Lanka’s Obligation

China’s foray into Human Rights is likely to make as much an impact upon the world as her economy has done by now. In the years to come, we may see China tending to engage with other countries in gentle persuasion but with verve, to respect Human Rights constructively. Sri Lanka will be among the first few to come under the radar. When the attention of the world has unerringly fallen on her, looking furtively or obliquely away will not help. It is good to take note of a Chinese saying, when a finger is pointed, a wise man looks in the direction.

For over half a century there has been no relaxing or relenting in marginalizing the Tamils. Have they abdicated or will they? No and never is the answer? Has the world been convinced that Tamils are the villains? To the contrary, is the world’s conviction, pointlessly to all and of benefit to none. A thousand questions can be asked and answered interminably. Abandoning this nonsensical process and stopping ‘marginalize till extinction’, is the one and only way for redemption.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 1
    0

    China’s stance at the March 2014 session of the UNHCR will show whether she is serious in her new view on human rights in sri lanka.

    Marginalising the tamils AND human rights of the sinhalese is the new game plan.
    We will see how the policies of the commonwealth will be first enforced at home by the new “leader” before preaching to the other nations.

    • 1
      1

      Actually CW to allow that appointment to lanken PRESIDENT is – almost similar to hand picking Mohan Peris as new CJ after impeaching Dr. SB (irrespective of all records of crimes/corruptions he was alleged to have perpetrated).

    • 1
      1

      Brief and yet so lucid and incisive. Thanks

    • 1
      0

      Marginalising the tamils

      Considering low caste Tamils are constantly marginalised in Jaffna and the treatment metted out to Batticloa , Indian Tamils and Moslems.

      Thats somewhat of a rich statement isnt it really? Vellalar are also marginalising Tamils by boycotting, not engaging and what not?

    • 0
      0

      In march 2014 you will get the biggest surprise.It will be a Chinaman that will bowl the defeated Tamil terrorists.A bloody set of day&night dreaming clowns!

  • 1
    1

    Look here Sivathasan.

    It quite tragic isn’t It really? So many words without any meaningful analysis.

    Sri Lanka’ vision of human rights is one that prioratise state interests over individial liberties. This has remained consistent over 71, 89 and LTTE insurrections.

    This in par with vision of Chinese doesn’t it really? Chinese cannot promote human rights espoused by liberal democracies while being an undemocratic and authoratarain regime? It simply cannot without shooting themselves in the foot isnt it? Liberal democracies have already acquiesced to HR envioned by Chinese for developing countires.

    Where does this leave people espousing to be like SJV Chelvanayagm and Wijeweera? They need to think twice and genuinely be better than the state they want to overrun. No amount of bogus “Ghandian” ways will suffice.

    Although where does the bigger question of “Tamil rights”? I suppose a lot of hope is on Cameron to deliver. This is really an infantile thinking isnt it really? I doubt if even Cameron realises what he got himself into. At the end of the day TNA must fall in line with the wishes of the Sinhala majority Cameron or no Cameron isn’t it really?

    • 0
      1

      It will be well and good if Cameron upholds his promise and delivers on his promise. Whatever it is, the pressure to commit those who murdered thousand of civilians during the ned of the 2009 war will continue. If the Sinhalese are cosy to the JVP two insurrections where thousands vanished in thin air, it is their problem. By the way, prioritising state interests does not mean murdering civilians. Where did you get that idea from?

      Too bad isn’t it, with all the campaigning by this “sinhalese majority” the NPC still slipped through their fingers? Too bad, the sinhalese majority cannot stop the UNHRC resolutions? Oh, you should not forget that even the “national hero” Weerawansa’s phony fast and the “loving” President’s juice feeding could not stop anything. Bask in your dreams as long as you want.

  • 0
    0

    Sivathasan Ayyah,

    Many things you say are plausible. Yet some are arguable.

    Your assessment that Russia has moved towards democracy is patently untrue. The rule of Russia by Putin is akin to how MR and Co are running the show in Sri Lanka. The way Putin put down the Chechen conflict is not too dissimilar to how MR put down the LTTE uprising. Putin sent a rock group to jail for criticising him. Similarly environmental activists including foreign Greenpeace activists are languishing in jail. Many parallels between the two systems – Russia and Sri Lanka.

    Hmmm, China has so much world economic clout these days; it is another country like the US who can be hypocritical about human rights. Practice what you preach is what comes to mind.

    See how the aspirations of Tibetans and the Uyghurs have been down. Now compare that to the Tamil aspirations. See the all pervading military and police presence in those two lands in China. Now compare that with Jaffna area. Many people are executed in China often for trivial reasons and often for defying the state. (in Sri Lanka we have the white vans doing the same job) The Chinese court systems as well as the degree of evidence needed for conviction is quite primitive by Western standards. There are many parallels between the Sri Lankan system and the Chinese system.

    Well, Mr Sivathasan, I think you are getting a little bit carried away here. Better come down to earth. MR and Co are as strong as ever. Despite what the grieving and vengeful Tamils the world over expect, nothing will come out of a war crimes investigation; that is if ever such an investigation should eventuate. In fact CHOGM has vastly strengthened MR’s hand. There is no viable opposition to challenge MR. The UNP has committed harakiri.

    Best to get on with life as best we could. That is my advice.

    • 2
      0

      BBS Rep

      I am not unaware of where Russia stands in 2013, after reaching the “threshold of democracy” in 1989. Same applies to China.

      To Leon Trotsky, a century is but a MINUTE upon the CLOCK OF HISTORY.

    • 0
      1

      Does getting on with life should mean abandoning the pursuit of war criminals? How pathetic?

  • 0
    1

    Chinas project to become the No 1 Super Power in the world cannot succeed unless it includes a convincing agenda on human rights. Same for MR’s project to become No 1 in the Commonwealth and Asia. Countries with tyrants and dictators are generally considered third class and not accepted by the international community. Chinas long term goal is to become No 1 and be accepted and respected.

    • 0
      1

      Total and UTTER NONSENSE .

  • 1
    1

    Where exactly does this sivathasan live. What does he care about Tamils that live in Sri Lanka. Is he one of those who were benefitting from the ransom collected by ltte agents from law abiding Tamils living in foreign countries? If not when he started to address the human rights violations by sun goat and his gang of terrorists on innocent Tamils and their children, then I am sure China will also listen to what you have to say. Start from your own violations man, because you are one of the culprits who has financed terrorrism in Sri Lanka. I say go to hell, and look yourself in the mirror!

    • 0
      2

      no:

      Who financed the mob of the Sinhala Act only? Who financed the rogues of the 1983 riots? And is it so important that China should listen to the Tamils? Who raped and murdered Kishanthi? Who murdered over 70,000 Sinhalas during the JVP struggle? Who financed the venerable Buddhist monk who pumped the bullets into Bandaranaike? With rapists and murderers that you people are, isn’t it odd for you to cast a stone at others? For all the sexual predators that you all are, show one rape incident by the “sun goat”? Even the UN peacekeepers in Haiti had to spit on you people for liberally and shamefully dropping your pants. And just because you scream that we should go to hell, that we would? Be assured that we will drag you to hell with us if it comes to that.

  • 1
    2

    Writers like Sivathasan and Commentators like Safa should read and analyse the latest official request to International Community by Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka on the question of Sri Lanka Human rights if they don’t want to look like fools.

  • 0
    2

    We are yet to see China’s position become clear. Only recently, the role it played in the Sudan did not indicate it cared more for human rights than for oil. In Sri Lanka, its interests are not too great. It is not going to confront India, US and UK for Rajapakse whose decline is very evident. It would not be backing the right horse. The Chinese are too shrewd. They know that the days of Rajapakse are numbered. Sri Lanka has had other invincibles in the past-Jayawardene, Premadasa, Athulathmudali etc. Their traces do not remain. So, it will be with Rajapakse who will at least leave behind a useless port, a useless airport and progeny already discredited as buffoons. The Chinese can read that. They cannot be great lovers of human rights. There is Tibet and Xinjian for them to worry about and not shoot too much about human rights. But, Sri Lanka is eminently expendable for them particularly when the might of the US, UK and India are arraigned against them. So, it is not that the Chinese are getting soft on human rights. It is simply a case of dropping a useless government to be seen as going along with the nice guys. It is simply good diplomacy. The coming days will be interesting to watch. We have already seen the creator of BBS visit the Pope. We will see the plagiarist Pieris wriggling about like a worm trying to exculpate his master from his misdeeds. We will see more cruelty in the suppression of opponents. But, eventually Rajapakse game will be brought to an end and as in the case of war criminals, he will join the procession of imbecile leaders who persecuted his people to a criminal court.

  • 0
    2

    China NEVER mentioned anything about bloody Tamils.

    Don’t introduce words here.

    It is NOT about Tamils.

  • 0
    0

    http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/wjdt/

    British Prime Minister Cameron to Visit China

    2013/11/25

    Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang announces at the regular press conference:

    At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will pay an official visit to China from December 2 to 4.

    Hope you can decipher the way China is going.

  • 0
    0

    The visit of Political Bureau Member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Liu Yunshan to Sri Lanka in September 2013 does not even figure on the list of communiques issued by Chinese Foreign Ministry. – http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/wjdt/2649/

    On the other hand China has taken steps to improve relationships with EU and India

    China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation released at 16th China-EU Summit

    2013/11/23

    At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, travelled to Beijing for the 16th China-EU Summit, from 20th to 21st November 2013. Prior to the Summit, President Xi Jinping of the Peoples’ Republic of China, met President van Rompuy and President Barroso. Premier Li Keqiang hosted the Summit on 21st November.

    The two sides exchanged views on the strategic partnership, domestic developments and the economy, trade and investment relations, bilateral cooperation, international and global issues, in full and frank discussions regarding all matters of concern to either side.

    China and the EU announced the launch of negotiations of the China-EU Investment Agreement. They welcomed the launch of the China-EU Dialogue on Innovation Cooperation, and highly appreciated the successful dialogue and outcomes at the China-EU Urbanisation Partnership Forum, the China-EU Urbanisation Exhibition and the 6th round of China-EU Energy Dialogue, which all took place at the side of the Summit. They also welcomed the holding of the Business Summit and of the High-Level Regional Policy Dialogue.

    During the Summit, the following agreements were signed:

    – Administrative Agreement for an Intellectual Property Cooperation;

    – China-EU Joint Declaration on Energy Security;

    – Letter of Intent on Research and Innovation Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology.

    Both sides jointly adopted the China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation, a comprehensive document setting out China and the EU’s shared aims to promote cooperation in the areas of peace and security, prosperity, sustainable development and people-to-people exchanges, to take forward the China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership over the coming years. The two sides will fully implement the Strategic Agenda through their annual Summit, which provides strategic guidance to the relationship; through the three pillars directly underpinning the Summit (the annual High Level Strategic Dialogue, the annual High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue and the bi-annual High Level People-to-People Dialogue); through their regular meetings of counterparts; and through their broad range of sectoral dialogues.

    China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation

    Foreword

    Relations between China and the EU have developed fast since diplomatic ties were established in 1975. In particular, the creation of the China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2003 has deepened and broadened cooperation in a wide range of areas, and China and the EU have become highly interdependent as a result.

    The world of today is experiencing profound and complex changes. As important actors in a multipolar world, China and the EU share responsibility for promoting peace, prosperity and sustainable development for the benefit of all. They agree to continue to consolidate and develop their strategic partnership to the benefit of both sides, based on the principles of equality, respect and trust. The EU reaffirms its respect for China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. China reaffirms its support to EU integration.

    Joint Statement between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of India

    2013/05/20

    1, At the invitation of H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, H.E. Mr. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, is on a State visit to India from 19 to 22 May 2013, Premier Li held talks with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and will call on H.E. Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, President of India. The leaders of the two countries had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual interest in a sincere and cordial atmosphere and reached broad consensus.

    2, The two sides reviewed with satisfaction the comprehensive and rapid progress of China-India relations in the 21th century. Over the years, China and India have evolved an effective model of friendly coexistence and common development, which can be an example for relations between big, neighboring countries. The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to abide by the principles and consensus arrived at by leaders of the two countries over the years concerning the development of China-India relations, and to further consolidate the Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and mutual sensitivities for each other concerns and aspirations.

    3, China and India have a historic opportunity for economic and social development and the realization of this goal will advance peace and prosperity in Asia and the world at large. The two sides welcome each other’s peaceful development and regard it as a mutually reinforcing process. There is enough space in the world for the development of China and India, and the world needs the common development of both countries. As the two largest developing countries in the world, the relationship between China and India transcends bilateral scope and has acquired regional, global and strategic significance. Both countries view each other as partners for mutual benefit and not as rivals or competitors.

    4, The two sides hold that the right of each country to choose its own path of social, economic and political development in which fundamental human rights and the rule of law are given their due place, should be respected. The two sides will not allow their territories to be used for activities against the other. The two sides are committed to taking a positive view of and support each other’s friendship with other countries.

    5, Recognizing the growing bilateral relationship and the increasing global importance of both China and India, the two sides agreed to a regular exchange of visits between the Heads of State/ Government of the two countries. The leaders of the two countries will also continue to meet on the sidelines of important multi-lateral forums.

    6, The two sides attached great importance to the active role of the Strategic Economic Dialogue in promoting macro-economic policy coordination and pragmatic cooperation in various fields between the two countries and expressed satisfaction over the progress made in the meetings of the Dialogue. They agreed to further strengthen cooperation in the areas of energy and environmental conservation, new and renewable energy and high-technology. The two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in the railway sector including heavy haulage and station development.

    7, Considering the rapid changes in the world economic situation, the two sides tasked the Strategic Economic Dialogue mechanism to consider issues of macro-economic coordination, and to suggest possible responses by the two countries. Both countries share a common interest in preventing protectionism and in an open multilateral trading system. The two sides agreed to continue pushing forward the Doha Development Round, consider the potential for a bilateral Regional Trade Arrangement and review the state of negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership(RCEP).

    8, The first meeting of the China-India CEO’s Forum was held during premier Li Keqiang’s visit to India. The prime Ministers of both countries look forward to the recommendations of the Forum to further enhance bilateral trade and investment.

    9, While striving to realize the trade turnover target of US$100 billion by 2015, the two countries agreed to take measures to address the issue of the trade imbalance. These include cooperation on pharmaceutical supervision including registration, stronger links between Chinese enterprises and Indian IT industry, and completion of phytosanitary negotiations on agro-products. The Indian side welcomed Chinese enterprises to invest in India and participate in India’s infrastructure development. Project contracting cooperation between the businesses of the two countries would be enhanced.

    So its better to stop dreaming and face the realities of todays world where even China is changing its policies and strategies. We are just small fry.

    • 1
      2

      So, you expect China to vote with the big fries, eh. Just wait and see, idiot.

    • 0
      0

      Safa

      Thanks for the perceptive comment in the first post and for furnishing access to a lot of valuable documents in the second. If we don’t read them we will never know how fast the world is changing. Yet we need a balance to learn that history is a process too subtle for precise dates and picturesque predictions.

      It is unfortunate that few look in the direction and many only at the finger and make weird comments.

    • 0
      0

      We dont trust china fully though we know that china alone cannot do any fancies in Asia. Recently China invaded air space on disputed island(senkaku) which provoked Japan-US. US state department warned china in this regard. So chinese plays now friendly cards knowing that their pit of preals backfiring them. rightly Bangladesh and Myanmar jumped from this sinking ship. India is not fool to completely co-operate with china’s cunningness. However this is the opprotunity to force china to accept the India’s territorial policy. It is all game called politricks

      http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/25/world/asia/china-japan-disputed-islands/

  • 1
    2

    S. Sivathasan:

    The respected, responsible, elected Tamil leadership of TNA has just read out a statement in parliament glorifying LTTE leader! Now go bury you head in sand in shame.

    • 0
      1

      Navin

      “elected Tamil leadership of TNA has just read out a statement in parliament glorifying LTTE leader!”

      What’s wrong with that given that MR’s comment to AL Jazeera in which he claimed that his ministers who do hold all sorts (weird)ideologies?

      The Sinhala/Buddhist terrorists JVP too glorify and remembers its fallen “comrades” in November each year.

      Why have you conveniently forgotten JVP’s annual ritual?

      • 1
        0

        Why have you conveniently forgotten JVP’s annual ritual?

        Both MR and JVP are not respectable nor responsible.

        According S. Sivathasan elected Tamil leaders with unconquerable genetic traits are responsible and respectable. Anyone who disagrees with these respected responsible leaders in TNA is a “traitor”. You want to me to name the last person to be excommunicated from “Tamil Nation” by Sivathasan et.al for expressing his views?

  • 1
    0

    The Chinese are having a great time while fooling the Rajapaksa brothers, in order to secure their sea route in the Indian Ocean. The Rajapaksa bothers are making their wealth in the name of developments by getting lots of commissions. It will take another five to ten years for the other Sinhalese fools to understand what the Rajapaksa fools are doing to the country. India must nail the Rajapaksa brothers with the world’s help through the UNHRC in March. I really don’t think India will gain an advantage at the UNHRC by boycotting the CHOGM. India should have attended the CHOGM. Nothing wrong in being friendly and giving big smile to your enemy. In fact you should keep your enemy closer than your friends. This will help you to nail your enemy with less effort. I believe the Rajapaksa brothers’ judgement day is getting closer. I urge you to read the column – Putting the Lankan state on notice post CHOGM, published by the Sunday Times on 26th of November, especially the last paragraph.

  • 0
    0

    Let’s look at in another way. Siva can be right if one concedes that China wants to keep its options open. That is when the day comes when Tamil Nadu becomes a separate state. That day may not be too far as things are developing.
    For the present I shall not elaborate.

  • 0
    1

    SL’s obligation is NOT towards Tamilians. Who care about them!

    SL’s obligation is towards SLs.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.