Asian Century Journal

An Asian Century Philippines Publication

Sri Lanka’s savior: China

 

The July anti-China propaganda campaign of the shrinking anti-China elements in Philippine politics and mainstream/social media has waned to pfft again this month with the “debt trap” and “high interest” allegation against China’s loans to the Philippines collapsing. In fact, the thinking public as a result has been enlightened on the deliberate mis-representation of Yen loans at fantastically low quoted interest rate like 0.05% that when converted to US $ turnout to be higher at 3 to 4% over China’s 2% to 3% loans.

   
DOF points out that if converted to USD, the 2% interest on Chinese loans (Kaliwa, Chico) is lower compared to Japan’s 2.7% (North-South Commuter Rail), COURTESY: @pia_gutierrezRadio Television Malacañang – RTVM
 

            The “debt trap” yarn has also been debunked decisively as presentation of the Department of Finance showing that China’s loans to the Philippines to date only constitute 5% of the total foreign debts of the Philippines shocked to realization many of former critics of China’s loans to the Philippines realizing they have been fooled by Amboys and their perfidious anti-China propaganda all built on distortions and lies. One of the victims of the collapsing credibility of the anti-China elements is former NEDA chief Ernesto Pernia.

     

            Let’s now go to the “debt trap” yarn that began the decades long campaign of the Western Powers villainizing China as the perpetrator of this financial oppression on Third World countries – Sri Lanka. Western media began this strategic disinformation campaign on the issue of Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port project almost a decade ago, alleging China entrapped Sri Lanka in that “unviable project and grabbed the port in exchange for the unpayable debt. Through the decade long struggle to explain this China and truth seekers have finally won the debate.

 

            I am one of those truth-seekers  who has  labored through countless readings to get at the truth, one of the major sources  of the truth is an American international development researcher Deborah Brautigam who has written many books explaining the facts, particularly the eye-opening “The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa” that demonstrated the lie of the “debt trap” and how China’s development aid to Africa has been the “dragon’s gift”. Besides the books Brautigam has also a long list of articles in many magazines.

 

            One of Brautigam’s articles, written with Meg Rithmire, explained that the Hambantota Port project started with the Canadian government’s interest in its feasibility which it assigned to SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian engineering/consultancy firm to study. It was found to be a feasible project. Another feasibility study was done by the Danish engineering firm Ramboll which also found it of great potential. The Europeans competed for the project but Sri Lanka found China’s offer to be the best hence it went to China and the mudslinging from the West ensued.

 
The Chinese ‘Debt Trap’ Is a Myth
The narrative wrongfully portrays both Beijing and the developing countries it deals with.
By Deborah Brautigam and Meg Rithmire
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2021/02/china-debt-trap-diplomacy/617953/

 

            These past few months since the start of the Ukraine War and U.S. sanctions against Russia started the impact of the global supply chain crisis on Sri Lanka’s fragile economy coupled with unique domestic “green” related politics, was devastating to Sri Lanka. The Western media reverted to blaming the crisis to “debt trap” of China, but last July 25, news from Sri Lanka and Indian sources indicate that Sri Lanka is turning to China to save its financial and economics system instead of blaming China for anything.

 

Sri Lanka has had a tumultuous past few months with fuel and food crisis hitting it hard, its “green” president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa who banned chemical fertilizers and pesticide blamed for a food crisis had to flee his residence and flew out of the country in a military plane as mobs swarmed to take over. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe succeeded Gotabaya and enforced order with heavy police action, and was quickly elected as president by the parliament.

 
On May 16, 2017, President Xi Jinping met at the Great Hall of the People with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka, who was in China for the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF).
 

            President Xi Jinping of China quickly offered support to the new president who is a familiar friend through the six times that Wickremesinghe had been prime minster of Sri Lanka. Xi, In a broadcast message, said he believes Sri Lanka will be able to move towards economic and social recovery and he is “ready to provide support and assistance…” Four days later Wickremesinghe directed his envoy to make the detailed appeal for aid and support for Sri Lanka to China.

 

            The Economic Times of July 25 headlined “Sri Lanka asks China for help with trade, investment and tourism’…’Colombo’s envoy to Beijing said … as it negotiates for an emergency $ 4-billion package to help it emerge from an economic meltdown.’… ‘Colombo wants China to ask it companies to buy more Sri Lankan black tea, sapphire, spices and garments… further investment into vast China-backed port projects in Colombo and Hambantota… see more Chinese tourists…”

 

            The U.S. is nowhere to be found in these times of crisis of Sri Lanka, instead it is reported that U.S. funded NGO’s were at the forefront of the mobs that set fire to the prime minister’s residence and other destructive mob actions aiming at regime change towards a US friendly government. The very reliable New Atlas video blog of Bangkok based Brian Berletic published the “US Fingerprints Found Behind Sri Lanka Unrest”, you can watch it at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ysy6qrXi0m0

 

 

            Here’s the summary of the episode: “Evidence is emerging that at least some segments of the ongoing protests in Sri Lanka are funded and backed by the US, serving US interests. A ‘digital strategist’ given credit by the Western media for the successful toppling of the Sri Lankan government was a “volunteer” at a US National Endowment for Democracy-funded “election” organization. His group’s involvement in the current protests are a carbon copy of events that unfolded during the 2011 US-engineered “Arab Spring.”

 

            As in the very recent earthquake in the Philippines, China has shown its reliability as a partner, friend and brother in times of dire need – being the first to respond to the country’s certainly going to be badly needed help – China is a good neighbor indeed. Have a nice day pondering these issues that will make our world a real “Community of Shared Future for Mankind”

 

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