[Chinese defence minister with President Rajapaksa]
by Upul Joseph Fernando –
The first official statement issued by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, after his defeat, appeared in the print media last week. The statement looked to be a sad note from the former President. He regretted that the present government was harassing him and his family members and had added China too, into that sad note. In that statement Mahinda urged the government not to scoff or insult China. Following is the text of what Mahinda included in his statement: “Some say that the main contractor in some projects subcontracts some of the work to others at a lower cost and therefore, the entire project can be done at a lower cost. The usual practice in the construction industry is that sub-contractors are brought in for certain tasks, while the main contractors do the more important tasks themselves. However, the responsibility for the entire project rests with the main contractor.
At times segments of the same project are financed by different lenders. Two segments of the Southern Highway were financed by Japan and one segment from China. Similarly, two segments of the Outer-Circular Highway were financed by Japan and one segment by China. It is the Chinese funded projects that have been singled out for criticism. China is a country that has helped all Sri Lankan governments for over six decades. Like all international lending organizations, the China Exim Bank also has procedures in place to ensure the integrity of their transactions. I wish to suggest to those concerned that this maligning of a friendly country that has helped us, so generously over many decades must stop.
Outrageous and totally unsubstantiated accusations against me were disseminated through various websites and social media networks such as face book both before and after the election. I self-critically admit that my government did not take these baseless allegations seriously and counter them in time. However, I am confident that the truth will prevail one day”.
When one reads that statement, it looks like that China is also a stakeholder in the Rajapaksa family. Because, Mahinda had viewed the allegations levelled against China in the same manner the present government has harassed his family, according to Mahinda’s thinking. It is interesting to note as to why Mahinda chose to include China in the statement he made after his defeat. The Chinese involvement during his regime in Sri Lanka has nothing to do with the reported charges made by the incumbent government against him and his family. It could be that he included China at the request of the Chinese Embassy in Colombo. Or it could be that he dragged China into it expecting China to help him.
These days Mahinda spends his time at Medamulana. Those who visit him and his confidantes have high hopes on China. They think that China will help to topple the present government. China is a country that helps leaders of anti-democratic countries and will not help to topple democratic governments. China knows little about democracy. China calculated the Rajapaksas’ thinking that Rajapaksas could never be ousted from power. It pinned hopes on Rajapaksas and not on the UPFA Government. They built up personal relationships with Gotabhaya, Namal and Basil. China did not know if the Rajapaksas were defeated who would take control of the SLFP and who would emerge as the Opposition Leader. The Chinese weakness in assessing the political situation in Sri Lanka at ground level was proved beyond doubt with the Chinese Ambassador being present when the ministers of the new government were sworn in. His presence demonstrated that China was totally confused on how it should strengthen relations with the new government. The Chinese news agency ‘Xinhua’ in a report expressed hope that China would strengthen relations with the incumbent government as they did with the Rajapaksa regime.
It is no secret that the Chinese Government exceeded the red line in helping the Rajapaksa government. During the Uva Provincial Council polls campaign, the Chinese President visited Colombo to extend aid to help reduce the prices of essential goods. In another move, Basil Rajapaksa was dispatched to China to get assistance to present a people-friendly budget last year in view of the decision to hold a presidential election. Following the visit of the Chinese President to Colombo, Basil who was in China later discussed a package with China to offer a package to the people to combat the rising cost of living. China always engaged in the sport to support leaders of select countries and offer assistance to spread its’ wings of power around the globe. When such leaders are ousted from office, China attempts to persuade the next leaders elected to office in those countries to have closer cooperation with China.
Mahinda may not have been aware of these Chinese tactics. China is like some in our corporate sector who cheer the winning side. Now China is afraid to speak on behalf of Mahinda and his family. If China, now, says it does not know Mahinda it is not a surprise. China is more concerned to protect its investments than our country and that is the ideology practised by China. If Mahinda decides to seek support from such a China to topple this government, Mahinda is engaging in a foolish exercise.
– Ceylon Today