Red China-Whole Villain
NEW REPORT ON TIBET – ONCE BITTEN, TWICE SHY
The Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) released a new report on Tibet titled ‘Tibet Was not Part of China But Middle Way Remains a Viable Solution’.
But, we tried this Middle Way Approach on May 23, 1951, with disastrous consequences. As the saying goes, “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” Tibet cannot afford to bite the Bullet twice. Communist China insists that she has the right to control the Reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. The discussion about ‘Meaningful Autonomy’ has become redundant for Chinese Colonization of Tibet includes total Subjugation of all Social and Political Institutions of Tibet that give “Meaning” to Tibetan Identity.
New report on Tibet highlights self-immolations, reincarnation of Dalai Lama
Oct 31, 2018
New Delhi, Oct 30: From incidents of self-immolations, human rights, cultural genocide to the history of Tibet’s status and reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama — a new report released on Tuesday highlights the contemporary and prevalent issues faced by Tibet.
The report titled ‘Tibet Was Never A Part Of China But The Middle Way Approach Remains a Viable Solution’ was launched by the Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).
The report, organized into nine chapters, covers self-immolations, human rights, cultural genocide, the history of Tibet’s status, the environment, urbanization, economic development, the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the Middle Way Policy.
“The chapters aim to be comprehensive but digestible. Given that each topic could be a book of its own, the report serves as an overview of the most pressing issues in Tibet for those involved with or interested in the Tibetan cause,” DIIR’s Information Secretary Dhardon Sharling said during the launch of the report.
Published in Tibetan, English and Chinese languages, the report was unveiled by Prof. Anand Kumar and Dr Lobsang Sangay, President, Central Tibetan Administration here.
“For Tibetans, information is a precious commodity. Severe restrictions on expression accompanied by a relentless disinformation campaign engender facts, knowledge and truth to become priceless. This has long been the case with Tibet. This report marks the CTA’s current contribution to this effort,” said CTA President Dr Lobsang Sangay.
COLONIZATION OF TIBET POSES RISKS TO ALL LIVING DOWNSTREAM
The major rivers of Asia take origin in Tibet. People living downstream are facing increasing risks as the rivers are drying up due to Communist China’s colonization of Tibet.
Arunachal Pradesh: Authorities warn of flash floods in East Siang as landslide blocks river in Tibet
Over 6,000 people were evacuated from Tibet’s Menling County after the landslide led to the formation of a barrier lake.
Sections of the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh dried up due to landslide upstream | HT photo
The Arunachal Pradesh government has warned of flash floods downstream of the Siang River after China informed India that a landslide has blocked a section of the river in the Tibet region, The Times of India reported on Friday.
The Yarlung Tsangpo is the upper stream of the Brahmaputra river. It is known as the Siang river once it enters Arunachal Pradesh and the Brahmaputra when it enters Assam.
The East Siang district administration has asked people not to venture near the Siang river and asked them to stay alert. The water level in the Siang river has reduced due to the landslide blocking the flow of water. The landslide has led to the formation of a lake and there are fears of large-scale floods downstream if the lake breaches, reported the Hindustan Times.
“We got a report from the Central Water Commission about the landslide in Tibet,” said Deputy Commissioner of Upper Siang district Duly Kamduk. “The water level in Siang river has gone down by around 2 meters at Tuting in Arunachal Pradesh.”
A statement issued by the East Siang district administration asked people living on the banks of the river in Jarku, Paglek, SS Mission, Jarkong, Banskota, Berung, Jampani, Sigar, Ralling, Borguli, Seram, Kongkul, Namsing, Mer, Gadum not to remove driftwood, tree barks on the banks of the river as these will serve as a natural flood control mechanism, reported Northeast Today.
Meanwhile, in China, over 6,000 people were evacuated after a barrier lake was formed following the landslide in the Yarlung Tsangpo River in Tibet’s Menling County, reported Xinhua. The amount of water in the lake is above 300 million cubic meters.
In August, several people were airlifted from Assam’s Dhemaji district as Siang river got flooded due to heavy rainfall in the Chinese portion.
HAN CHINESE AND THE TIBETANS – THE EVIL,
BLOODTHIRSTY DRACULA’S RELATIONSHIP WITH TIBET
“The Tibetans and the Han
Chinese are like lips and teeth,
we are linked by blood.”
Han Chinese are like the teeth of ‘The Dracula’. Innocent Tibetans are like the lips of The Dracula’s Bride. Instead of kissing the lips, Han Chinese thirst for the blood of the Tibetans. Indeed, it is a true story about Blood Relationship.
China spends big in Tibet to avert a crisis when the Dalai Lama dies
China spends big in Tibet to avert a crisis when the Dalai Lama dies
China is increasingly trying to enhance its image by casting itself as the largest nation of Buddhist believers.
by Eric Baculinao and Jason Cumming / Aug.30.2018 / 3:53 AM ET / Updated Aug.30.2018 / 4:09 AM ET
Pilgrims near the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. Johannes Eisele file / AFP/Getty Images
LHASA, China — China is pouring billions of dollars into Tibet as Beijing seeks to cement its control before the succession struggle that is likely to follow the death of the Dalai Lama.
During a rare Chinese government-organized visit to the region, local officials described a development program that they contend will bring prosperity to the 3.3 million Tibetans who inhabit a vast area roughly double the size of Texas.
The massive infrastructure projects include new airports and highways that cut through the world’s highest mountains, with planned investment totalling $97 billion.
The investment plan aims to protect Tibetan Buddhism’s holy sites while building a sustainable “green economy” that safeguards the fragile environment that is an average elevation of 13,000 feet above sea level.
The roof of the world
Chinese troops marched into Tibet in 1950 in what Beijing officially terms a peaceful liberation. China has long aimed to reduce the influence of the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India.
Source: Natural Earth
Graphic: Jiachuan Wu / NBC News
According to official figures, China has also already spent over $450 million renovating Tibet’s major monasteries and other religious sites since the 1980s. An additional $290 million has been budgeted for the next five years.
The huge investment by China comes as the officially atheist country increasingly tries to enhance its image by casting itself as the largest nation of Buddhist believers. China claims some 300 million Buddhists of various schools, of which Tibetan Buddhism is one.
The effort comes as China faces charges from rights groups and exiles of repressing the Tibetan people. China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since 1951, a year after its troops marched in.
The Dalai Lama in 2015.Ben Stansall / AFP – Getty Images file
Last month, Vice President Mike Pence said Tibet’s people “have been brutally repressed by the Chinese government.” And in June, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said conditions were “fast deteriorating” in Tibet.
Beijing routinely denies charges of repression, saying that its rule ended serfdom and brought prosperity to what was a backward region and that it fully respects the rights of the Tibetan people.
It insists Tibet has historically been part of its territory since the mid-13th century. Many Tibetans, though, say the region has been effectively independent for most of its history.
While Beijing regards the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist who seeks to split off nearly a quarter of the land mass of the People’s Republic of China, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Tibetan spiritual leader says he only seeks greater rights for Tibetans, including religious freedom and autonomy.
For supporters of the Dalai Lama, China’s Tibet strategy is “aimed at increasing its control and limiting the personal freedom of the Tibetan people,” said Matteo Mecacci, a former lawmaker in Italy and president of the International Campaign for Tibet.
He called the infrastructure improvements and monastery renovations “superficial.”
Mecacci said Tibetans are “not even allowed to receive teachings from the Dalai Lama.”
A portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Sera Monastery in Tibet. Eric Baculinao / NBC News
He added, “When it comes to the real practice of Buddhism, China continues to increase restrictions.”
With the Dalai Lama now 83, many Tibetans fear that China will use the succession issue to split Tibetan Buddhism, with a new Dalai Lama named by exiles and another by the government after his death.
(Barry Kerzin, an American monk and the Dalai Lama’s personal physician, told NBC News that he is “perfectly fit.”)
The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet and went into exile in India in 1959, has repeatedly tussled with China’s ruling Communist Party over who has final authority on the issue of reincarnation.
“The Tibetans and the Han
Chinese are like lips and teeth,
we are linked by blood.”
“The Tibetans and the Han Chinese are like lips and teeth, we are linked by blood.”
Tibetan Buddhism holds that the soul of a senior lama is reincarnated in the body of a child on his death.
China says it must approve the next Dalai Lama, and the Dalai Lama has said his biggest concern is that China will try to name his successor.
The Panchen Lama who was installed by the Chinese government attends an event in 2016.Cui hao / Imaginechina/Getty file
In 1995, after the Dalai Lama named a boy in Tibet as the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama, the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, China put the boy under house arrest and installed another instead.
Many Tibetans are torn between accepting and spurning the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama.
Palaces and shrines
Explaining the seeming contradictions in China’s policy, Tibet’s foreign affairs deputy chief, Ma Qiang, said that while the Community Party “doesn’t believe in religion,” China’s government was “duty-bound to protect Tibetan Buddhism and restore and preserve its holy sites because that is also what the Tibetan people want so they can exercise their freedom of worship.”
The most iconic landmark to receive Chinese funding is the imposing Potala Palace, the thousand-room residence that overlooks Lhasa. It houses the tombs of all but one of the Dalai Lamas who have died since 1682.
Lhasa’s Potala Palace. iStock / Getty
According to the museum’s deputy director, Gonga Zhaxi, the 13-story palace has undergone two major renovations on which Beijing spent $37 million. Another $4.4 million has been budgeted for the repair of its ornate golden roofs.
To protect its priceless Buddha statues, frescoes and scriptures, a limit has been set of 5,000 pilgrims and tourists per day, and cats have been deployed against the colony of rats, he said.
Other sites that have benefited from Chinese cash include:
- The seventh-century Jokhang Temple is Tibet’s holiest shrine as it houses a life-sized statue of Buddha (Jowo Shakyamuni) at the age of 12. The labyrinth of chapels thick with the smoke of incense and prayer candles is visited daily by around 12,000 pilgrims and tourists. Buddha’s statue was the gift of the Chinese Tang dynasty Princess Wencheng when she married Tibetan King Songtsan Gambo around 1,300 years ago. The union is now immortalized in a spectacular open-air opera with a cast of 800. A private production company has invested more than $80 million to promote this narrative of Tibet-China unity. Lhagba, a prominent monk and the site’s management director, said Beijing has spent $14.7 million on major repairs there in the past 10 years.
- Beijing has also helped with major renovations at Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery, two of Tibet’s most influential Buddhist academies, with grants of $30 million and $8 million. Thanks to government help, the monks can focus on their studies and need not bother with the monastery’s repairs, according to Awang Ciren, the monastery’s academic head. To increase its enrollment of 480 monks, Beijing is building a new dormitory that can accommodate 170 monks, he added.
In addition, 46,000 monks and nuns are now covered by health insurance and social security, officials said.
And with Beijing’s “preferential” policy and massive budget subsidies, Tibet’s economy has been growing faster than the rest of China.
Some $170 million was spent on environmental projects last year, part of a 23-year plan unveiled in 2009 that’s worth $2 billion.
“In Tibet, we don’t allow the burning of coal, and since 2011, we have stopped approving any new mining projects,” said Luo Jie, Tibet’s environmental protection chief, adding that more than one-third of Tibet’s territory consisted of nature reserves. “We also don’t tolerate river pollution.”
Developing a “green economy” is the future of Tibet, according to economic planning official Jiang Taichang.
Tourism is also an industry that is drawing more focus. Last year, more than 25 million tourists and pilgrims visited Tibet, generating more than $5.5 billion or one-third of Tibet’s income, and their number is expected to rise to 70 million in four years. (The majority of tourists are Chinese, as security has been ratcheted up significantly in the decade since anti-government protests spread through Tibetan areas in 2008 and Tibet remains mostly off-limits to foreigners.)
Monks at Tibet’s Sera Monastery debate Buddhist teachings. Eric Baculinao / NBC News
Lhasa’s special economic zone, built with a $30 million investment from Beijing, is already fully leased out, with 200 enterprises producing a range of products from beer to medicines. A new technology zone and financial district are being planned.
Norbu Thondup, the Beijing-appointed executive vice chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibet’s administrative name, condemned the “sabotage” activities aimed at the “harmony and happiness in today’s Tibet” by groups supporting the Dalai Lama.
He reiterated China’s policy that the “gate is open” if the Dalai Lama abandons the idea of “splitting” Tibet from China.
“The decision is for the Dalai to make,” Thondup said of him returning to his homeland. “The Tibetans and the Han Chinese are like lips and teeth, we are linked by blood.”
But Mecacci, of the International Campaign for Tibet, said it was important for China to engage with the Dalai Lama.
“Only a serious dialogue while the Dalai Lama is alive can provide a lasting political solution in Tibet,” he said. “Finding an agreement with the Tibetans would help China because it’s the right thing to do and because it will help China both domestically and internationally.”
Eric Baculinao reported from Lhasa and Jason Cumming from London.
© 2018 NBC UNIVERSAL
TIBETAN NATIONAL SECURITY PLAN – NEGOTIATE WITH A TYRANT FOR PEACE
In the absence of Tibetan National Security Plan, Tibetans are left with no choice. To keep their mortal existence, the Tibetan people may have to negotiate with a Tyrant for Peace.
DALAI LAMA SAYS TIBETANS NOT ASKING FOR INDEPENDENCE, CAN LIVE WITH CHINA
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama courted controversy by stating that Tibet is ready to be part of China provided Beijing agrees to guarantee certain rights.
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama addresses during “Thank You Karnataka” an event to mark the 60th year of Tibetan arrival to India, in Bengaluru on Aug 10, 2018. (Photo: IANS)
Two days after he triggered a major controversy by praising Muhammed Ali Jinnah over Jawaharlal Nehru, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama stoked a political flame by stating that Tibet is ready to be part of China provided Beijing agrees to guarantee certain rights.
Speaking at an event organized by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in Bengaluru, the Dalai Lama said, “Tibetans are not asking for independence. We are okay with remaining with the People’s Republic of China, provided we have full rights to preserve our culture.”
At the “Thank You Karnataka” event, the 83-year-old Nobel Peace laureate said, “Several of Chinese citizens practicing Buddhism are keen on Tibetan Buddhism as it is considered scientific.”
Only two days ago, the 14th Dalai Lama enraged many by saying that India would not have been partitioned had Pakistan’s founding father Muhammed Ali Jinnah become the Prime Minister instead of Jawaharlal Nehru.
During an interaction with students in Goa, the Dalai Lama said, “Mahatma Gandhi wanted to give the prime ministership to (Mohammad Ali) Jinnah. But Nehru refused. He was self-centered. He said, ‘I wanted to be Prime Minister’. India and Pakistan would have been united (had Jinnah been made Prime Minister at the time). Pandit Nehru was wise and experienced. But mistakes do happen.”
As his remarks triggered outrage, the Dalai Lama on Thursday tendered an apology. “My statement has created controversy, I apologize if I said something wrong,” he said.
“I had a close relationship with Nehru, who suggested having separate schools to preserve the Tibetan thought. He (Nehru) supported the Tibetans’ cause,” the 14th Dalai Lama said.
Born in Taktser hamlet in northeastern Tibet, the Dalai Lama was recognized at the age of two as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. He fled to India from Tibet after a failed uprising against the Chinese rule in 1959.
China annexed Tibet in 1950, forcing thousands of Tibetans, including monks, to flee the mountain country and settle in India as refugees.
Since then, India has been home to over 100,000 Tibetans majorly settled in Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh among other states.
RED CHINA’S INFORMATION WARFARE – INFILTRATION OF AMERICAN ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS
Red China deploys Communist Tactics of Deception, Infiltration, and Subversion to undermine American Academic Institutions
WAKING UP TO CHINA’S INFILTRATION OF AMERICAN COLLEGES – THE WASHINGTON POST
Clipped from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/waking-up-to-chinas-infiltration-of-american-colleges/2018/02/18/99d3bee8-13f7-11e8-9570-29c9830535e5_story.html?utm_term=.2f7f2220ca8d
FBI Director Christopher A. Wray testifies during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Feb. 13. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
China’s massive foreign influence campaign in the United States takes a long view, sowing seeds in American institutions meant to blossom over years or even decades. That’s why the problem of Chinese financial infusions into U.S. higher education is so difficult to grasp and so crucial to combat.
At last, community of U.S. officials, lawmakers and academics focused on resisting Chinese efforts to subvert free societies is beginning to respond to Beijing’s presence on America’s campuses. One part of that is compelling public and private universities to reconsider hosting Confucius Institutes, the Chinese government-sponsored outposts of culture and language training.
With more than 100 universities in the United States now in direct partnership with the Chinese government through Confucius Institutes, the U.S. intelligence community is warning about their potential as spying outposts. But the more important challenge is the threat the institutes pose to the ability of the next generation of American leaders to learn, think and speak about realities in China and the true nature of the Communist Party regime.
“Their goal is to exploit America’s academic freedom to instill in the minds of future leaders a pro-China viewpoint,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. “It’s smart. It’s a long-term, patient approach.”
This month, Rubio asked all Florida educational institutions that host Confucius Institutes to reconsider those arrangements in light of a growing body of evidence that China seeks to constrain criticism on American campuses, exert influence over curriculum related to China and monitor Chinese students in the United States.
One of the schools Rubio contacted, the University of West Florida, had already decided not to renew its contract with Hanban, the Chinese government entity that manages the institutes. Western Florida joins a growing list of universities that are rejecting the Faustian bargain that comes with accepting Chinese government funding and management for programs meant to expose students to China, including the University of Chicago, Penn State University and Ontario’s McMaster University. West Florida President Martha Saunders told me the decision was primarily due to a lack of student interest, but the rising concerns also contributed.
FBI Director Christopher A. Wray articulated those concerns in testimony last week before the Senate Intelligence Committee. He said the FBI is “watching warily” and even investigating some Confucius Institutes. He said “naiveté” in the academic sector was exacerbating the problem and called out the Chinese government for planting spies in American schools.
“They’re exploiting the very open research and development environment that we have, which we all revere. But they’re taking advantage of it,” Wray said.
For Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.), that’s a long-awaited acknowledgment. The majority of the institutes’ activity may be benign, and it’s difficult to determine how much self-censorship participating institutions engage in, Smith said. He has commissioned a study of the institutes by the Government Accountability Office to collect data to support his call for their closure.
“They are nests of influence, reconnaissance,” he said. “They keep tabs on Chinese students, and those who attend their classes are getting a Pollyannaish take on what China is about today.”
To understand what Confucius Institutes are really about, it’s necessary to understand their connections to the Communist Party and its history. Peter Mattis, a former U.S. intelligence analyst now with the Jamestown Foundation, said Confucius Institutes can be directly linked to the Communist Party’s “united front” efforts, still described in Maoist terms: to mobilize the party’s friends to strike at the party’s enemies.
For example, Liu Yandong, the Communist Party official who launched the Confucius Institutes and served as chairwoman, was the head of the United Front Work Department when the program began.
“They are instrument of the party’s power, not a support for independent scholarship,” Mattis said. “They can be used to groom academics and administrators to provide a voice for the party in university decision-making.”
At a minimum, Confucius Institutes must be required to provide more transparency, yield full control over curriculum to their American hosts and pledge not to involve themselves in issues of academic freedom for American or Chinese students. If they don’t do this voluntarily, Congress will likely act to compel them. Both Rubio and Smith are working on new legislation to do just that.
More broadly, if we as a country don’t want Confucius Institutes to control discussion of China on campus, we must provide better funding for the study of China and Chinese languages. If we are really headed into a long-term strategic competition with China, there is no excuse for not investing in educating our young people about it — or for letting the Chinese government do it for us.
LOOK AT TIBET ISSUE FROM ALL ANGLES
TO OPENLY CLAIM CHINA IS EVIL
I look at Tibet issue from all angles to openly claim China is Evil Power, Tyrant, Aggressor, and Neocolonialist.
MERCEDES-BENZ APOLOGIZES TO CHINA
OVER DALAI LAMA POST
Mercedes-Benz has become the latest major global brand to offer a public apology after upsetting the Chinese government on a sensitive subject.
The carmaker apologized Tuesday for hurting “the feelings” of Chinese people by quoting the Dalai Lama in a post on its Instagram account. The move comes just weeks after Marriott, Delta Air Lines and other big names found themselves in trouble with Beijing over how they described politically sensitive places like Taiwan and Tibet.
The Chinese government has launched frequent attacks on the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, calling him a “traitor” and a separatist. Beijing considers Tibet to be part of its territory and comes down hard on any suggestions to the contrary.
Mercedes, which is owned by Daimler, (DDAIF) ran afoul of China’s stance when it paired a quote attributed to the Dalai Lama with a photo of one of its luxury sedans on Instagram — a social media platform that is banned in China.
“Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open,” the quote read.
The ad was posted on Monday and garnered nearly 90,000 likes before Mercedes deleted it the following day, according to a screenshot posted by Chinese state media.
The Global Times, a state-run newspaper that often strikes a nationalistic tone, criticized Mercedes, saying the company was quick to respond to the incident but shouldn’t make such mistakes in the first place.
Mercedes issued a statement in Chinese about the incident on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter (TWTR), offering a “sincere apology” three separate times.
“We fully understand how it has hurt the feelings of people in the country, including our colleagues working in China, we sincerely apologize for this,” Mercedes said, adding that the post contained “extremely erroneous information.”
With its rising middle class and growing economic might, China is a key market for many global brands. Mercedes is no exception.
Of the nearly 2.4 million vehicles it sold worldwide last year, more than a quarter were snapped up by Chinese buyers.
A growing number of international companies have recently found themselves in hot water in China over politically sensitive issues.
Authorities last month blocked Marriott’s websites and apps for a week in China after it listed Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as separate countries in its emails and apps. Marriott (MAR) apologized profusely, saying it respects and supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China.
Shortly after that, Delta (DAL) came under fire for similarly listing Taiwan and Tibet as countries. It said it was “an inadvertent error with no business or political intention” in its apology.
At the same time, the owner of European clothing brand Zara was chastised by regulators for listing Taiwan as a country and ordered to rectify the situation.
China and Taiwan — officially the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China — separated in 1949 following the Communist victory on the mainland after a civil war.
They have been governed separately since, though a shared cultural and linguistic heritage mostly endures, with Mandarin spoken as the official language in both places. The government in Beijing has always maintained that Taiwan is a renegade province that is part of its sovereign territory.
Communist China sent troops into Tibet in 1950 to enforce its claim on the region and has controlled it since 1951 — though the central government in Beijing has faced repeated bouts of unrest from ethnic Tibetans unhappy over its rule.
— Nanlin Fang contributed to this report.
CNNMoney (Hong Kong) First published February 7, 2018: 2:43 AM ET
RED CHINA’S DOCTRINE OF NEOCOLONIALISM
Red China signed a deal with Sri Lanka to use Hambantota Port in pursuit of her doctrine of Neocolonialism. World must pay attention to China’s aggression in Tibet if it wants to resist, contain, engage, oppose, and confront China’s Neocolonialism threatening Freedom, Democracy, Peace, and Harmony in Asia, Africa, and Europe.
SRI LANKA SIGNS HAMBANTOTA PORT DEAL WITH CHINA
Billion-dollar agreement reached despite trade union opposition and protests over security fears, including from India.
29 Jul 2017 09:54 GMT
Sri Lanka is selling a 70 percent stake to China Merchants Ports Holdings for $1.12bn [Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP]
Sri Lanka has signed a $1.12bn agreement with a state-run Chinese firm to operate a port in the southeast of the country, despite security concerns and protests from trade unions.
According to the long-delayed deal reached in the capital Colombo on Saturday, Sri Lanka Ports Authority agreed to sell a 70 percent stake in the Hambantota port to China Merchants Ports Holdings.
The Chinese firm will run the workings of the newly constructed port over a 99-year lease.
The Cabinet approved the agreement on Tuesday, almost six months after the framework deal was signed.
Public anger and protests had delayed the signing.
Demonstrators rallied against the loss of land and concerns that the port could be used by the Chinese military.
Trade unions earlier in the week staged a strike against the deal, temporarily crippling fuel distribution on the island.
They fear the deal gives an advantage to China in the bunkering business, which provides fuel to ships, as the port is located on a key international shipping lane between Europe and Asia.
Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the “One Belt, One Road” project in May, pledging tens of billions of dollars to build ports, highways and power grids in about 60 different countries, linking China to much of Asia, Europe and Africa.
Al Jazeera’s Minelle Fernandez, reporting from Colombo, said the Hambantota port located in a strategic position.
“For China to be able to get its foot in, and essentially take over this port, is considered quite an important part of its plan particularly with the new Silk Road initiative,” she said.
Sri Lanka’s government has dismissed the unions’ concerns, saying that the agreement would prove profitable and will help repay loans taken on to build the port.
India voices concern
The government argues that the port has been underused since its opening in 2010. The construction cost more than $361m, with the Export-Import Bank of China providing a large chunk of financing.
Ports Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told journalists that Sri Lanka “cannot afford to continue to pay” back the loans without better returns at the port.
Only 44 ships have been handled by the Hambantota port since 2015, making it an unprofitable venture, DPA news agency reported.
Neighboring India has also voiced concerns that China could use the deep-sea port in the Indian Ocean to dock military vessels.
Sri Lanka has assured India that there are no security issues over the port, which it says will only be used for commercial purposes.
“No naval ship, including Chinese vessels, can call over at the Hambantota Port without our permission,” Samarasinghe said.
Al Jazeera’s Fernandez said: “The Sri Lankan government has sought to allay fears from both its neighbors and the people in the region that this is a commercial agreement which will help Sri Lanka on its road back to recovery from debt servicing.”
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies