Who Would Take the Risk to Invest in a Holy Land

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Jun 16 2021

By Mahika Ming 

Sri Lanka was engaged in a bloody conflict for more than 30 years from 1975 - 2009. Many who voiced to end it actually may have wanted to continue it for financial gains. That becomes quite clear when their activities are analysed. A few managed to end it thus creating opportunities for more financial gains. 

Only then it became an issue of who gains how much? When the country was struggling to come out of war and develop the economy, organisations linked to the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) were the first to come forward to invest in large scale projects taking huge risks as Sri Lankans are famous for short-term peace projects and long term conflict projects. The PRC had the resources to invest. Some other countries also had the capacity but they never took the risk.

 It was a Canadian company which has first had the idea to help us build the port in Hambantota. Our competitors may still be investing in conflict provoking elements within Sri Lanka with long term return on investment plans. Such investors will never go public but the faces on media may lead us to them as per the old Canadian saying… follow the money to see the faces.

 Benefits of slave trade 

During the past weeks social media was filled with Chinese investments related posts. No one is really keen to investigate who else would have invested that much if not for PRC. Fact is that the PRC has worked hard throughout the decades since 1949 and has been a good friend to most countries in need. There are those who criticise the PRC in Africa. Probably they adore the slave trade since it paved the way for Africans to settle in Europe and the USA and even enter the White House. 

Sri Lanka has had very long links with India and China and shorter ties with the west. Unfortunately India didn’t take us even as slaves. Instead they send even their royalty to settle here. Western powers did not take us as slaves either. They got Indian slaves to work here and Chinese slaves to Malaysia etc. 

One should read more about the Malayan insurgency to know more about how the British treated the Malaysians who protested against British rule. China was a great source for the western colonisers. After the PRC was established they worked hard through the years creating a very powerful economy. Latest statistics show that profits of PRC’s leading industrial companies witnessed an accelerated growth during Jan – April 2021. Firms with annual revenue of approx. 3 million USD had a profits surge approx 110% year-on-year as per Chinese data. 

Helping friends

 Kenya was a British colony. Kenya was part of the ancient Silk Road. Kenyan citizens taken to the west as slaves must be doing well in the west. President Barak Obama who was gifted to the USA by Kenya is also enjoying retirement raising his voice on social media. The average Kenyan on the streets of Nairobi may be missing the opportunity of going to the West as a slave Kenyans in Kenya will benefit from the Lamu seaport built by a PRC linked firm launched few days ago creating many opportunities for the average Kenyans. 

According to Kenyan statistics the first phase consists of three berths, constructed by the China Communications Construction Company. It is located in the coastal county of Lamu in the northeast. The ultra-modern port is part of the Lamu - South Sudan - Ethiopia Transport Corridor. With is opening it is now ready for shipping operations. 

The Kenyan President received the first cargo ship to dock at Berth one of the completed port shifting Kenya further as a regional transport and logistics hub. Starting of the port operation is a Vision 2030 flagship project in Kenya. It will transform regional economies through increased trade, integration and connectivity making Kenya a regional hub. 

This is the second largest Kenyan commercial seaport that would facilitate the transportation of bulk cargo to landlocked South Sudan and Ethiopia accelerating the capacity of the local manufacturers. Although some see competition or duplication of roles between the new port and the Mombasa port it will actually create synergy according to shipping experts as each will be serving different trade routes. This port will have the capacity to handle large vessels from shipping lines that use the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean and Red Seas. Lamu can handle large vessels with a capacity from 12,000 to 18,000 TEUs.

 Most importantly the port will open up the northern Kenyan region for investments in key sectors like livestock, tourism, and fisheries as per Kenyan analysts. The construction of an oil refinery, a modern railway line, and resort cities in northern Kenyan counties of Isiolo and Turkana are part of the Lamu port development project. 

The Buddhist way 

According to Buddhist teachings there are many categories of friends. It is up to the interested to read and understand what type of a friend China is, which always helps its friends with a win-win approach. Although criticised by many as a nonreligious State, PRC encourages religious activity but unlike in other Buddhist States where the philosopher has personally touched base. 

The State does not involve religions in public administration. Many Buddhist bodies in the PRC do accumulate wealth as in other States but gives it back for the development of the people in China and beyond. The Buddhist Association of China recently hosted a meeting to discuss cooperation among Buddhist communities in the Lancang - Mekong region to combat COVID-19 and promoted contributions to promote people's livelihoods. The meeting was held to commemorate Vesak marking the birth anniversary of the Buddha. 

The event was graced by PRC’s Buddhist leaders, experts and representatives of Buddhist communities from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Sri Lanka (though not in the region) using video link. Ancient links existed between Buddhists in the region and the PRC. PRC Buddhist leaders have always appreciated the support given by Buddhists of other countries via exchanges and cooperation according to Chinese sources. 

The Buddhist Association of China is expected to make further attempts to enhance exchanges, communication, and cooperation with Buddhist communities in the region to expand international cooperation especially in fighting COVID-19. Those who assume that they are next to the Buddha when managing economies should study how certain developed countries promote Buddha’s teachings while managing their respective economies attracting investments. After all, those who go to court stressing holiness in their lands should carefully analyze how holy has the land been throughout.

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Jun 16 2021

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