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China follows India into Eelam – but with a Buddhist twist

Photo courtesy of Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka Twitter

China’s ambassador to Sri Lanka made his second visit to the North-East last week, just days after India’s finance minister completed her tour of the region – but also stopped off at several controversial Buddhist sites. 

Ambassador Qi Zhenhong travelled to Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi on a three-day tour of the region, where he handed out several boxes of donations. 

However, the ambassador also visited several Buddhist sites in the North-East. The Chinese envoy chose to tour them at a time when the Sri Lankan state and military have been fervently constructing several such sites across the Tamil homeland. Locals state that this is part of ramped-up ‘Sinhalisation’ of the Tamil region. 

Photo courtesy of Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka Twitter

“Love rises above differences in race and belief, and kindness transcends boundaries and borders,” tweeted the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka. 

The donation drive in Mannar, while initiated by the Sri Lanka China Buddhist Friendship Association saw the active participation of the Sri Lankan Army. 


Whilst in Jaffna, the Ambassador visited the old Kachcheri building, with rumours that attempts were being made for it to be sold to Chinese investors. 

Qi Zhenhong’s tour of the North-East follows a similar visit in December 2021, and comes just days after India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited the Tamil homeland. 

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