On January 24, the official Twitter account of the Chinese Embassy mentioned a controversial tweet. The message reads as follows.
China issued this tweet because the letter sent to Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance on debt restructuring by the Chinese Exim Bank was distorted and circulated on the social media. The Chinese Exim Bank had informed the Ministry of Finance of Sri Lanka in a letter that it would give a 2-year moratorium on loans. But the distorted letter stated that China agreed to a 5-year moratorium.
Before the Exim Bank of China sent its letter, the letter regarding India’s debt restructuring was handed over to Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance. The letter first appeared in ‘The Hindu’ newspaper. Before the Indian Foreign Minister came to Sri Lanka, the newspaper ‘The Hindu’ published that letter. Ranil’s government also took full advantage of the letter and the visit of the Indian foreign minister. Ranil’s government used the letter as a ploy to postpone the local government elections. In the same week, the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance had submitted a letter to a case pending in the court asking for the postponement of the local government election.
It was mentioned in the letter that the difficulty of spending money for the local government election and that it is not appropriate to go to an election when the negotiations of the government of Sri Lanka for restructuring the debt to reach an agreement with the IMF are progressing.
Ranil’s government submitted the Finance Ministry Secretary’s letter to the court thinking that it would receive letters from India and China agreeing to restructure the debt in the same week. The government of Sri Lanka received the letter from India. but the Chinese letter was not received in Colombo. Ranil’s government highlighted India’s letter as a victory for Ranil. A campaign was also made for that. Political columnists wrote that ‘will India be the game changer for RW’. It is not known whether India knew that Ranil would use their letter and the foreign minister’s visit to his advantage. The Indian foreign minister’s statement that the provincial council elections should be held soon showed that India is wary of Ranil’s government’s propaganda tactics.
Ranil’s government did not receive the expected letter from China. The Chinese letter was distorted and leaked on social media after that. The Chinese Embassy has already complained to the Minister of Police and the President’s Security Adviser about the tampering of this letter. Sources of the Chinese embassy state that the Chinese embassy is closely watching the investigations related to this. Earlier, the American ambassador Julie Chung had accused a fake Twitter account similar to hers of creating and distorting her message. Below is the tweet from Julie’s Twitter account.
‘Fake tweets mimicking my account have been spreading on social media. If you ever have any doubts about my statements, please look directly at my verified account. Fake news—and fake tweets—are a real problem. Don’t be misled.’
Julie later told her friends that she knew who was behind her fake account. Now the Chinese Embassy has also complained that a letter sent to the Ministry of Finance has been tampered with. It is a big mystery as to where a letter from the Ministry of Finance went on social media. Previously The Japanese Embassy had rejected the announcement issued by the Presidential Media Unit that Ranil had said that Japan had agreed to hold a debt conference. Such incidents happening at a time when Sri Lanka needs international friends are not good for the country.