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Veteran Communist DEW recalls modern-day bonds between China and Lanka

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Two landmark achievements of the Chinese people during the last decade were the alleviation of abject poverty and the new Silk Road Economic Project (Belt and Road Initiative). China lifted 800 million people out of abject poverty. More than one hundred countries have gained entry to BRI, President of the Commemorative Committee of the 65th Anniversary of Sri Lanka – China Diplomatic Relations Dew Gunasekara, has told an event held recently at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre, Colombo.

Among those present on the occasion were Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, former President Maithripala Sirisena, former PM Ranil Wickremasinghe and the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China,Russia, Vietnam and Cuba

Gunasekera said at the outset, “May I convey our fraternal greetings to the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Comrade Xi Jin Ping and other comrades on this significant occasion of the 65th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations?

“Sri Lanka – China-friendly relations are more important and relevant today than ever, domestically, regionally and globally.

“Why?”

Firstly, the 1st Century belongs to Asia after 500 years since the 15th Century; Asia has become the vanguard of the World Economy.

“Secondly, Asia is more united than ever before.

“Thirdly, with the withdrawal of US Forces from Afghanistan, Asia relatively is more peaceful, particularly as peace is dawning for the people of the Middle East since the 2nd World War.

“Fourthly, China is today the engine of growth in the Asian Economy.

The 20th Century had witnessed two world wars, so many National Liberation struggles, the birth of new Independent States, the birth of Republics also many military coups and conspiracies, ethnic and religious conflicts engineered by Imperialists.

“We entered the 21st Century with hopes and aspirations for a better future. Now a new era is emerging as China has become the second-largest economy in the world.

“Looking back, the whole historical process of transition in Asia commenced with the first Democratic Revolution of China in 1911. The feudal kingdom was abolished. However Imperialism and feudalism prevented China from enacting a new republican constitution–so the task of the second Democratic Revolution was bestowed on the Young Communist Party of China which accomplished that historic task in 1949.

“The Chinese revolution was a source of strength and inspiration to the people in the rest of Asia. From 1949 till 1975 i.e., the end of the Vietnam War, China had been for 26 years isolated from the rest of the world.

“The contribution made by Chinese people for the course of national and social liberation in Asia is significantly remembered with deep respect to the Chinese leadership.

“China after the Revolution had to rebuild from scratch. It regained its seat in the UN only in 1976.

” So, China had to look for a new economic strategy in the context of global trends of economic globalization and neo-liberalism. The new strategy of openness and reforms initiated under the dynamic leadership of Deng Xiao Ping was the turning point of New China.

“The 21st Century witnessed the rise of China in the global economy. Since 2010 China had a phenomenal economic growth of development turning China into the second-largest economy in the world.

“In 2021, despite the global economic downturn and negative effects of COVID-19, China became a $ 19 trillion economy. At the start of the Century in the year 2000, it was only $ 7 trillion. It is now advanced in all spheres of economic activity. Chinese advancement in science and technology is miraculous.

“These changes unprecedented in human history are taking place under the dynamic leadership of Xi Jin Ping – General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.

“China being the largest exporter, the largest importer, largest food producer, largest foreign exchange reserve, a huge market with a middle class alone of 500 million people is a decisive factor in the global economy.

“Chinese economists have devised new instruments and mechanisms in order to face the challenges of the global economic crisis. With the disruption of the supply chain with the onset of COVID- 19 Chinese economists through a mechanism of dual circulation diverted excess exports from the export market into the internal market.

” Karl Marx had predicted the potential market of China as a decisive factor, Vladimir Lenin in his last theoretical contribution has also stressed the need for a Chinese Revolution for the Socialist Transformation. This is precisely why the Sri Lanka-China friendship is all important today. The significance of the Bandung principles of peace and peaceful co-existence has become more relevant today.

“The reality of the new China is recognised by all and that is precisely why all political party leaders are gracing this occasion with their kind presence.

“Dr. S.A. Wickremasinghe, the founding leader of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka was the first to meet the leaders of the Chinese Revolution in 1950, soon after the Revolution. The first political party delegation was led by Phillip Gunawardena. The first Cabinet Minister who visited new China was R.G. Senanayake, Minister of Trade and Commerce in the Dudley Senanayake Government.

“The first Buddhist monk, who met Thera, was instrumental in forming the Sri Lanka- China Friendship Society, Afro-Asian Solidarity Organisation, and Sri Lanka Peace Council?. He was the unknown personality operating behind the Rubber-Rice Agreement.

“The first Government Official to visit China on an official assignment was Prof. Jayantha Kelegama, the eminent economist representing the Ministry of Trade and Commerce. It was in connection with the historic Rubber- Rice Agreement.

“Prime Minister Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the first head of the government to visit the People’s Republic of China.

“The first Lankan Ambassador to the new People’s Republic of China was Wilmot A. Perera, a pioneer of the Sooriya Mal Movement – one of the vanguards of the Anti-imperialist struggle.

“I take this opportunity to record with deep appreciation the initiative taken by all party leaders for strengthening fraternal Relations. “



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BASL urges President to de-escalate tensions in different parts of country

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The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has called upon President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to instruct the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of tensions in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by the public.”

 “Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint”, the BASL has said in a media statement.

 “We also call upon you to ensure that steps are taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.”

The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police.

 The armed forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

Full text of the BASL letter to the President:

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) expresses its gravest concerns at the current situation at fuel stations throughout the country and the reports of several incidents of conflicts between civilians and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations. There has been video footage of civilians being assaulted by personnel of the armed forces and the police, the latest being of a civilian being kicked by an Army officer at a fuel station. There have also been situations of the police and Army opening fire into the air to contain the crowd.

Your Excellency is no doubt aware that thousands of desperate civilians are waiting in queues at hundreds of fuel stations in the country. The queues are kilometres long. The tension at the fuel stations have arisen from this desperation for which there is no immediate solution in sight.

The BASL wishes to warn Your Excellency of the imminent dangers this situation could give rise to. The present unrest could result in a conflagration between civilians and members of the armed forces or the police. Some years ago, confrontations between members of the public and the armed forces resulted in the deaths of civilians. Such incidents between the members of the armed forces or the police and the civilians will discredit Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the police.

We call upon Your Excellency to take all necessary steps to give instructions to the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of the situation in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by public. Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint. We also call upon you to ensure that steps be taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.

The Sri Lanka Army and other service personnel must be deployed only in very limited circumstances as contemplated in the Criminal Procedure Code. The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police. The Armed Forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

We trust that this will receive the immediate attention of the Government as to do otherwise may otherwise result in unprecedented turmoil and harm.

The BASL believes that the ultimate solution to the situation at fuel stations is to be transparent with the public and to ensure an equitable and effective system of fuel distribution throughout the country.

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SC orders AG to submit report on fuel purchases and distribution

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By A.J.A. Abeynayake

A three-member Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Mahinda Samayawardena and Arjuna Obeysekera yesterday ordered the Attorney General to submit a report on fuel purchases, the distribution thereof and the sectors to be provided with fuel on a priority basis.

The Supreme Court made the order after considering two fundamental rights petitions presented by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The BASL has requested the Supreme Court to direct the Cabinet of Ministers to consult all stakeholders and independent experts to formulate and implement the necessary policies, and to provide concessions in relation to the prices of essential goods and services to the people including LP gas, fuel, electricity, milk powder, medicines and food.

The petitions were filed by the President of the BASL Saliya Pieris PC, Deputy President Anura Meddegoda PC, former Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya, Treasurer Rajindh Perera and the Assistant Secretary Pasindu Silva.

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A/L may be delayed by one month

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Education Minister Sushil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday that although it had been scheduled to hold the G.C.E. A/L Examination 2022 in November this year, it could be further delayed by another month.

Responding to a question by MP Shantha Bandara, the Minister said: “The examination should be held at least after three months of releasing the results of the previous A/L exam because the students who need to sit it again should have enough time to prepare,” the Minister said.

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