China reportedly distributes dry rations to foreign service officers and faces strong opposition

People line up to buy kerosene for cooking amid cooking gas shortages in Colombo, Sri Lanka on May 17, 2022.

Photo: AP

HIGHLIGHTS

  • As protests continued in Sri Lanka over fuel and gas shortages caused by the economic crisis, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament on Wednesday that the island nation had received $160 million from the World Bank.
  • “$160 million has been received from the World Bank and a grant from the AfDB (Asian Development Bank) is also expected,” Wickremesinghe said.
  • However, he said World Bank money could not be used to buy fuel. “We are trying to see if we can use some of it to buy fuel,” the Sri Lankan prime minister said.
Colombo: Amid a severe economic crisis and a shortage of basic necessities in Sri Lanka, the food rations allegedly distributed by China have been the subject of outrage within the Association of Foreign Service Officers ( FSOA) of the island country.

China’s alleged attempts to distribute rations such as rice, dhal and other items, to influence foreign officials in Sri Lanka, have been met with strong opposition.

Colombo Gazette reported that the Chinese government was distributing rations, but the CCP brand was concealed in bags provided to villagers. According to the report, the most egregious bribe was the distribution of dry rations to Foreign Ministry personnel.

“Nowhere in the world would an embassy offer such a contribution to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, especially in a country like Sri Lanka where China has seriously engaged with politicians to move forward with their ambitious Belt and Road Initiative. (BRI) which faces immense challenges,” the Sri Lankan news portal said.

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Apparently China’s donation to the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry was approved by Foreign Secretary Jayanath Colombage and the China-Sri Lanka Friendship Association, which received money from the Sri Lankan Embassy. China to procure food products.

A delegation from the Association of Foreign Service Officers of Sri Lanka expressed outrage at the development during a meeting with Foreign Minister Colombage.

“We strongly believe that the acceptance of such donations, especially from members of the Sri Lankan Foreign Service, is not appropriate and will place the Foreign Service and the Foreign Office in an embarrassing position,” the statement said. Association.

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The report in Colombo Gazette said it was not the first time the Chinese embassy tried to exploit the host country.

The report notes that China is already accused of making payments to the government to improve its chances of winning projects while hiding details.