Chinese President Xi Jinping, who came to Sri Lanka in 1986. After that, no Chinese president visited Sri Lanka. Xi Jinping is the first Chinese President to visit Sri Lanka after 1986. Xi Jinping came to Sri Lanka 28 years after a Chinese president came to Sri Lanka. After 28 years, a Chinese president decided to come to Sri Lanka because, at that time, China decided that Sri Lanka was a strategically important country for China. Xi Jinping came to Sri Lanka after 28 years of that decision. He became the President of China in 2012. He came to Sri Lanka in 2014. In his second year of office. Former Chinese President Xi Jinping came to Sri Lanka during the time the cold war between India and Sri Lanka was heating up.
At that time, the country’s president was J.R. He had entangled into a big conflict with India due to the Tamil problem in the north. India helped the Tamil armed gangs in Sri Lanka, and China lent arms to JR’s government to win the war against the Tamil armed gangs. Also, in 2014, Chinese President Ping Jinpin vidited Sri Lanka at a time when Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in the middle of a big conflict with India regarding Chinese projects in Sri Lanka. When India said that Chinese projects in Sri Lanka are a threat to India’s security, Xi Jinping came to Sri Lanka to lay the foundation stone for the port city of Colombo.
Xi Jinping came to Sri Lanka and met President Mahinda and said that China would like to help the people of Sri Lanka to make Mahinda’s vision a success just as the Chinese people can realize the Chinese dream. The Chinese President came to Sri Lanka on September 19, 2014. He announced a relief package to reduce oil prices in Sri Lanka in order to win the Uva Provincial Council elections, which Mahinda’s government was facing at that time.
Mahinda had planned to win the Uva Provincial Council and go for an early presidential election. The Chinese president announced the relief package to help Mahinda win the presidential election. Mahinda was defeated. Only the foundation stone of the port city opened by the Chinese President remained. Mahinda accused the Indian intelligence services of defeating him. China did not wait for Mahinda to come back to do business with Sri Lanka. China became close to the Maitri-Ranil government got Hambanthota port on lease.
The port city of Colombo began again. In 2019, Rajapaksa came to power again. Gotabaya became the President. Mahinda became the Prime Minister. China said they are happy to see his old friend comeing back to power. China invited the new President Gotabaya to come to China. Gotabaya avoided the trip to China out of fear to India. Although Mahinda wanted to come, China wanted to bring the president. When the economy collapsed, Gotabaya asked for help from China. China saw Gotabaya as an Indian sympathizer. Finally, Mahinda spoke to the Chinese Prime Minister. The Chinese prime minister offered conditions for aid. Gotabaya did not agree to those conditions.
He declared that Sri Lanka is bankrupt and decided to go to IMF. The struggle began. Mahinda had to leave. Later, Basil and Gotabhaya and Rajapaksa family had to leave.
When the Chinese President becomes the Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party for the third time, Mahinda not even have the position of President, Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition. Mahinda is not even popular today. His Podujana Peramuna party, which was to be built like the Chinese Communist Party, has been broken into pieces. Mahinda, who is politically helpless, congratulated the Chinese leader for getting elected for the third time as the Chinese president.
Responding to that, the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka had said that Chinese Communist party is ready to work together with the Podujana Peramuna. Can China revive the collapsed Podujana Peramuna? Can China protect their friend Mahinda? For that, China should first take tuition from India’s New Delhi South Block on how to change the politics of Sri Lanka.
By Upul Joseph Fernando