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Sri Lanka MP threatens to launch ‘China Go Home’ stir on debt issue

Sri Lankan opposition MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam

Sri Lankan opposition MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam has threatened to launch a “China Go Home campaign” very similar to the “Gota Go Home” demonstrations that dethroned the country’s powerful Rajapaksa family in July this year.

Rasamanickam, a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP from Batticaloa told parliament on Friday that Sri Lanka owes $7.4 billion in loans to China, and if the latter is a true friend, it would agree to either write off this debt or at least help restructure it.

Economy Next quoted Rasamanickam as saying: “If China, who has nearly 20,000 billion dollars, is truly Sri Lanka’s friend… offering 9 million litres of diesel or half a million kilos of rice isn’t real help”.

Hitting out severely at China, the TNA MP even accused the Chinese embassy of getting involved in matters raised in the Sri Lankan parliament, adding that China poses a grave threat to Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.

Rasamanickam has threatened to lead a “China Go Home” campaign if the Chinese embassy and the Chinese government do not work for the benefit of the Sri Lankan people and fail to restructure debts, due to which IMF is not clearing a bail-out deal for the island nation.

Quoting Rasamanickam, Sri Lankan newspaper Ada Derana reported: “I would like to warn the Chinese, there will be a China Go Home soon, and I will lead it”. Mentioning former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, he added that 22 million Sri Lankans, irrespective of ethnic or religious differences, forced the powerful president to flee. He said that they can once again get together and begin to shout “China, go home”.

The Tamil MP’s castigation of China has ruffled Beijing’s feathers. The Chinese embassy belted out a series of tweets defending its support to Sri Lanka, which aggravated matters further.

The MP responded to the Chinese embassy by saying that he is ready for a Twitter war with the embassy but does not have the time for it. He once again questioned China for stalling the International Monetary Fund (IMF) proceedings by not agreeing to restructure the debt talks. Accusing Beijing of knowing about the perilous state of the Sri Lankan economy, he said that China is not being a friend of Sri Lanka, but instead, a friend of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“If China truly wishes to stand with the people of Sri Lanka during difficult times, they should cooperate with the debt restructuring process. As I understand, the entire IMF negotiations are at a standstill due to this,” the MP said.