By Udara Soysa
According to the latest report by the Policy Research Group, China is already creating its Africa Story in Sri Lanka. “China Harbour Engineering Company and Sino-Hydro Corporation are pumping life at a cost of $1 billion into the port at Hambantota, which Sri Lanka hopes will give a boost to its earnings from merchant navies passing through the Indian Ocean. For the Chinese navy, it will be useful as a refuelling and docking station,” the report says.
China is also the fourth largest trading partner for Sri Lanka.
Brahma Chellaney, author of the international best-seller on China, Asian Juggernaut, commenting in the Japan Times states that “Thousands of Chinese convicts, for example, have been pressed into service in projects by state-run Chinese companies in Sri Lanka, a strategically important country for China, which is seeking a role in the Indian Ocean.”
Chellaney further states that the Chinese regime is relieving pressure on overcrowded national prisons by employing convicts as laborers at Chinese-run projects in the developing world.
However, Suresh Rajakaruna, 37, labourer and resident from Tissamaharama, Hambantota does not agree.
“Meka pissuwak” (this is insanity). Why are we allowing Chinese labour force and that too of convicted criminals when we have a great number of village youth without jobs?”
Many who spoke to The Sunday Leader from the South shared similar views.
“I personally feel that we are creating another problem by allowing a free flow of Chinese criminals to Sri Lanka. We just ended a major problem with the Tamil Tigers. We Sri Lankans never learn our lessons, do we?” said Natasha Padmini, a 29 year old school teacher from Hambantota.
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