Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 3 October 2010





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Government Gazette

Lanka-China bilateral ties at its zenith

China celebrated its 61st National Day on October 1. Sri Lanka - China bilateral relations today are at its zenith. Historical relations between the two countries date back to centuries marked by the great Chinese bhikku Fa Hsien’s visit to Sri Lanka 1,600 years ago.

At the establishment of the Sri Lanka - China Friendship Society

The foundation was laid for closer ties between Sri Lanka and China, after the 1949 Chinese revolution.

Sri Lanka recognised the Republic of China on January 6, 1950. the Sri Lanka - China Friendship Society was set up during the latter part of 1950. Former parliamentarian Kusuma Gunawardena was elected president while Dr. G.V.S. de Silva, Professor of Economics, University of Ceylon functioned as General Secretary. Later, the society was reorganised with Theja Gunawardena being elected president. The increase of food commodity prices by the ruling UNP government unleashed a trial of public protests throughout the country.

Disillusionment with the ruling UNP regime escalated with the sudden price hike in rice. The bilateral commerce and economic ties between Sri Lanka and China took a new turn when Sri Lanka signed the Rice-Rubber Pact with China on December 18, 1952.

The mass struggle led by the Sri Lanka-China Friendship Society together with the Leftist forces including the Communist Party of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Freedom Party and a group of scholar bhikkus influenced Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike to establish diplomatic relations with China.

It was a historic occasion when Chinese Prime Minister Chou En-Lai visited Sri Lanka on July 31, 1957 and signed the treaty for diplomatic representation between the two countries.

The UNP government that took office in 1965 pursued a rather unhealthy policy towards to Chinese interests.

Attempts on the part of anti-China elements loyal to the UNP and the reactionary religious and minority groups which ignited anti-Chinese sentiment during the 1959.

Tibetian revolt and the 1962 Indo-China war failed to succeed due to the policies pursued by the Sirima Bandaranaike government. During the 1971 insurgency, the Chinese government provided military support to Sri Lanka. In 1971, the Sri Lanka government rendered unstinted support to China to secure a permanent seat in the Security Council. During Sri Lanka’s war against the Tigers, the Chinese government provided military hardware worth billions of dollars and supported Sri Lanka at United Nations fora. The massive aid pumped into Sri Lanka’s economic development epitomises China’s policy of peaceful co-existence.

The Mahinda Rajapaksa era marks the pinnacle of bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and China.

The Sri Lankan Government its people, the opposition and religious organisations, salute China’s epic forward march.

Translated by K.D.M.Kittanpahuwa

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