Author Topic: Then and now, Xi Jinping and the CTA, who has done more for Tibet?  (Read 528 times)

phyag na rlangs pa

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This analytical piece by Jayadeva Ranade on Xi Jinping’s visit to Tibet as Vice President in 2011 for the 60th anniversary of the ‘peaceful liberation’ of Tibet by the PLA is significant because it gives us a look at Sino-Tibetan affairs and its impact on Tibet and Tibetans, then and now. The event in 2011 could be viewed as the starting point of Xi Jinping’s rapid development policies in Tibet, which as we have seen became enacted fully once Xi Jinping became President of the PRC.

Xi Jinping is seen as a “liberal” leader by many Tibetans, such as Arjia Rinpoche, who was recognised by the 10th Panchen Lama as the 20th Arjia Danpei Gyaltsen, the reincarnation of Je Tsongkhapa's father, Lumbum Ghe, and later became the throne holder and abbot of Kumbum Monastery, one of the six largest monasteries of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism before the Cultural Revolution.

Arjia Rinpoche who later escaped into exile in the US where he started a Buddhist Center for Compassion and Wisdom (TCCW) in Mill Valley, California, and later was appointed by the Dalai Lama to be the Director of the Tibetan Cultural Center (TCC) in Bloomington, Indiana - now renamed the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center (TBCC) - both of which Arjia Rinpoche remains as director of, had this to say about Xi Jinping:

When Xi Jinping was appointed leader of China, he instilled hope in the people. His pledge of honesty fostered trust. His reorganisation plans and anti-corruption policies held great promise. Tibetans became hopeful for genuine “religious freedom.” Their dream for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet was renewed.

The quote above, taken from Arjia Rinpoche’s testimony for the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, continues to praise Xj Jinping, “Presently there is a widespread quote in the Chinese Internet sphere, attributed to Xi Jinping, saying “Communist Party members can also study Buddhism, and should learn from the Buddha’s great love and compassion.” Although the quote is even translated into Tibetan and is quite popular, it is hard to know whether or not Xi actually said it. At least it is a sign that the common folk still have some hope for Xi Jinping.”

Arjia Rinpoche concludes his testimony by saying how he has, “hope that China’s liberal reformers will once again gain power and the situation will improve.” and how these efforts, “will not only improve the current situation, but could also achieve a genuine “ethnic equality” and “religious freedom” in China.”

The article presented here echoes Arjia Rinpoche’s statements and is significant to look back and in comparison, shows how Xi Jinping was and still is committed to developing Tibet and raising the living standards of Tibetans.

It also notes how China is exercising religious freedom, although at the time this article was written, Jayadeva Ranade’s position on the matter is cautionary, which is understandably so because Xi Jinping’s policies were still new and as yet, not fully formed nor fully understood.

Jayadeva Ranade has continued to write more on Sino-Tibetan policies, and his latest articles are a confirmation of the success of Xi Jinping’s policies in Tibet. See:

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Jayadeva Ranade
Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi

Mystery continues to shroud the high mountain fastness of Tibet where, to this day, persons who revere the Dalai Lama are engaged in a serious tussle with cadres of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for the loyalty of Tibetans. Some weeks ago, China celebrated the 60th anniversary of the ‘peaceful liberation’ of Tibet by Chinese troops. The celebrations, which were held on July 18 instead of the date of the actual anniversary on May 23, coincided with a month-long ban on foreigners traveling to the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) imposed by the authorities till July 25. Publicity in China’s official media seemed to be low key for the event, where the importance of social stability and combating the ‘Dalai Lama separatists’ were consistently emphasized.

Signifying the importance of the event China’s Vice President, Xi Jinping, arrived in Lhasa on July 18, 2011, at the head of a 59-member delegation. The Chief of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Chen Bingde was, quite pointedly, part of the entourage as was General Wang Jianping, Commander of the People’s Armed Police Forces (PAPF). The delegation included Vice Premier Hui Liangyu; Vice Chairman and General Secretary of the Standing
Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Li Jianguo; Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and Head of the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee Du Qinglin; Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC Pagbalha Geleg Namgyai; and the Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the 10th NPC, Raidi. Hard-line TAR Party Secretary Zhang Qingli accompanied Xi Jinping throughout his stay in Tibet.

Coinciding with the anniversary, China’s State Council announced in Beijing on July 20, 2011, that the central government will invest 138.4 billion yuan (US$21.38 billion) in TAR over the next five years to support 226 major construction projects involving a total investment of 330.5 billion yuan. The projects envisage construction of facilities for TAR’s public services and infrastructure such as railways, highways, airports and hydropower plants.

The visit by Xi Jinping, who is virtually certain to succeed Hu Jintao as President of China at the 18th Party Congress scheduled for October 2012, also had symbolic value. His father, Xi Zhongxun, a contemporary of Mao Zedong and a veteran Party cadre, was reputed to be an individual with a somewhat liberal bent of mind. Xi Zhongxun, was an interlocutor for the Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy Lodi Gyari in the 1980s and apparently carried a photo of the Dalai Lama. Prior to that he had some association with the 10th Panchen Lama, Tibet’s second most important religious leader. While this is unlikely to influence Xi Jinping, who was present throughout the Tibet Work Forum held in January 2010, it could have some meaning for the Tibetans.

On July 18, Xi Jinping’s delegation visited Tibet University and along with 850 other invitees participated in “Sing a Folk Song to the Party Again”, held at the People’s Hall of Tibet. At a public reception in Lhasa the following day, Xi Jinping presented Party and Government leaders of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) a huge gold plaque inscribed by Chinese President Hu Jintao. Speaking to over 20,000 people gathered in the square in front of the Potala Palace, former residence of the Dalai Lama, Xi Jinping asserted that “as long as we stick to the CCP’s leadership, the socialist system, the system of regional ethnic autonomy and a development path with Chinese and local Tibetan features, Tibet will enjoy greater prosperity and progress and embrace a brighter future,”. He added that ‘social stability provides the basis’ for ‘leapfrog development and long-term peace’.

On July 20, Xi Jinping told a carefully selected audience of more than 100 monks, as well as ‘representatives from religious circles’, at Jokhang temple in Lhasa to ‘stay clear’ of separatist forces. This temple’s monks were involved in the severe riots that erupted across Tibet on March 14, 2008. The riots prompted authorities to launch a year-long ‘political education’ campaign in all the 505 monasteries in Tibet. Calling Tibet an inalienable part of China since ancient times, Xi Jinping lauded members of ‘religious circles’ for helping to maintain social stability, national integrity and ethnic unity.

Xinhua quoted him as saying that ‘the Party and the government will not forget your positive contributions.’ He urged them to be patriotic, ‘stay in line with the Party and the government’ and work for Tibet’s development.

The central leadership’s heightened concern about the situation in Tibet and influence of the Dalai Lama was reflected in all the remarks by Xi Jinping during his stay in Tibet. He emphasized the need to ‘fight against separatist activities by the Dalai Lama group, rely on cadres and people of all ethnic groups, seek long-term policies and take measures that address the root cause, and completely destroy any attempt to undermine stability in Tibet and national unity.’ He described Tibet ‘as an important security screen for the country’ and referred to it as ‘a major base of strategic resources reserves’. Interestingly, Xi Jinping appeared to take a cue from Hu Jintao and avoided using the pejorative term ‘Dalai clique’ while referring to the Dalai Lama and his supporters.

The message was sought to be reinforced by Lhagba, Party secretary of Lhasa’s Bagarxol village who, speaking at the ceremony, claimed ‘we treasure our life now and nobody is allowed to sabotage it’. Du Yongbin, a researcher with the Beijing-based China Tibetology Research Center, underlined Beijing’s concerns by candidly acknowledging that Tibet faces many challenges. He observed: ‘Politically, there are separatist forces undermining Tibet’s security; culturally, there is the conflict between ongoing modernization and preserving traditions.’

The second leg of the tour took Xi Jinping to the village of Bagyi in the Nyingchi prefecture in southeastern Tibet across Arunachal Pradesh. The choice of Nyingchi is interesting. It is the site of an underground missile base and a recently built modern airport, the third in Tibet. China claims that Arunachal Pradesh is part of Nyingchi prefecture. Nyingchi is also the area where China has plans to construct a mega dam on the ‘Great Bend’ of the Brahmaputra River.

China’s official media publicized that Xi Jinping, who last visited Nyingchi thirteen years ago as Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of Fujian Province, while visiting the homes of rural families of Nyingchi observed that many villagers had become rich. Xi Jinping reminded the people that their prosperity was a result of the Party’s efforts and that the ‘Han and different ethnic minorities are interdependent on each other’. He urged local officials to maintain long-term social stability and appreciated the contributions of personnel of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the People’s Armed Police Force and the police forces in Nyingchi.

Little publicized in the official Chinese media, but a move with potentially far reaching implications, were the invitations to select high ranking Tibetan monks residing abroad to attend the celebrations. The list appeared to have been meticulously crafted to accentuate divisions within the exiled Tibetan community and isolate the Dalai Lama. This dovetails neatly into other efforts noticed to have been initiated by Beijing to win over Tibetan Buddhist monks. These include the apparent shedding of its earlier aversion to non-formal contacts with prominent Tibetans and Tibetan entities. This subtle, but significant, shift was noticed during Governor of Sichuan, Jiang Jufeng’s 3-day visit to India in April, 2011. Jiang Jufeng, met privately with Tibetan activists and received Dolkar Lhamo Kirti, President of the Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) and Samten Choedon, Vice President, in the Maurya Sheraton Hotel, Delhi. They discussed the protests in Kirti Monastery where 300 monks have been in jail since March 16. Accepting their petition, Jiang Jufeng assured the matter would be examined. This was the first time a visiting senior Chinese official privately met exiled Tibetans in India and that too from the Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA), which has in the past been subjected to vehement criticism by the Chinese authorities.

The Paris-based Khensur Lungri Namgyel Rinpoche, the 101st and former Ganden Tripa and head of the Gelugpa sect to which the Dalai Lama belongs, visited China in the first week of July specifically to meet the Chinese nominated Panchen Lama, Gyancain Norbu. He did not, however, attend the 60th anniversary celebrations. The former Gaden Tripa would have been invited to bestow some legitimacy on the Chinese appointee, who is not recognised by the Dalai Lama, and thereby also embarrass the Dalai Lama. As if to emphasise his differences with the Dalai Lama, the former Gaden Tripa took along Yongyal Rimpoche and Lama Thubten Phurbu, two outspoken US based Shugden worshipping monks. Both are former residents of the Sera Mey Monastery’s Pomra Khangtsen (House) in Bylakuppe, Karnataka. Two living Buddhas, Kondhor Jewon Tulku, and Khanang Jam-yang Ten-penyima, who currently live in Switzerland met officials from the CCP’s United Front Work Department. Their visit coincided with a conclave of Shugden Diety worshippers held in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, in July 2011. The former Gaden Tripa worships the Shugden Deity, which has been prohibited by the Dalai Lama, but which group has been overtly backed by the Chinese authorities since 2007. Deepening the schism, the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama also worships the Shugden Diety.

A variety of other high ranking monks resident abroad travelled to China for the 60th anniversary celebrations of the ‘peaceful liberation’ of Tibet. Among them were Gangchen Lama, a well known critic of the Dalai Lama and worshipper of the Shugden Deity. The Milan-based monk travels often to China and has been permitted to renovate a couple of monasteries in Tibet. Akong Tulku, a former close associate of Tai Situ Rimpoche and who retains close links with the Chinese authorities, was another invitee. Akong Tulku has his headquarters at Samyeling Monastery in Scotland and has ongoing projects in Tibet. He has been critical of the Dalai Lama’s establishment. There was another representative from the UK, namely Karma Hardy, who till recently used to head the Tibet Foundation, UK. Invitees included representatives of other traditions like Jamyang of Sweden of the Kargyu Drikung tradition and Thinlay Rinchen, an Australia-based high ranking monk of the Sakya tradition. Kondor Tulku Jigme Palden, possibly of the Taklung Kagyu tradition, and Tsultrim Taser were two high ranking monks visiting from Switzerland. Of them, Kondor Tulku Jigme Palden was conferred an honour by the Chinese.

There was, predictably, a bid to use the anniversary celebrations to garner legitimacy for Gyaincain Norbu, the Chinese-nominated Panchen Lama and get him acceptance among Tibetans. Gyaincain Norbu was scheduled to visit the Labrang Tashi Khyil Monastery in Tibet’s Amdo region from July 20 to 30, but this had to be aborted due to ‘opposition’ from local Tibetans. Labrang Tashi Khyil is the main Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the area and was the scene of major demonstrations against Chinese rule during the protests in 2008. Gyaincain Norbu is now likely to visit the monastery some time in August, 2011 for an extended stay that could stretch to a few months and possibly include visits to other monasteries. The Norzin Potrang Palace in the monastery has been readied for Gyaincain Norbu and CCTV cameras and armed police personnel deployed around it. It is currently the residence of the head of Labrang Monastery, Jamyang Jabpa, who is also Deputy Director of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Gansu Province.

The decision of the Chinese authorities to base Gyaincain Norbu here, at least for some period, instead of in Beijing would be intended to keep him in the midst of Tibetans so that he could expand his political role and influence. It is an attempt to acquire control over Tibetan Buddhist culture in the Amdo region, where Tibetan identity is strong and has found popular expression periodically. There is neither any precedence for installing a Panchen Lama at Labrang. The Panchen Lama’s traditional seat is the Tashilhunpo Monastery near Lhasa and his second seat is at Kumbum Monastery in Qinghai province. The move to shift Gyaincain Norbu in the midst of Tibetans would be an important element in the’ plans of Chinese authorities to boost his influence while conveying the impression to the outside world that Tibetan Buddhist traditions are being protected. Gyaincain Norbu has indicated his political and ideological leanings in his remarks that Buddhism’s responsibility is “to foster patriotism and national unity.” He has already been appointed Vice-President of the official Chinese Buddhist Association and appointed to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

China perceives the present time as opportune to undermine the position and influence of the Dalai Lama. It has accordingly stepped up efforts to sow division in the Tibetan religious ecclesiastical hierarchy and divide the exiled Tibetan community. It is simultaneously attempting to undermine the influence of the Dalai Lama and isolate him. Beijing perceives the present situation as ideal to weaken the Dalai Lama’s movement and compel the XIVth Dalai Lama’s successors to find new methods at accommodation. Invitations to the World Buddhist Forums, TAR anniversaries etc are all calibrated to weaken the unity of Tibetan Buddhist monks.



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Re: Then and now, Xi Jinping and the CTA, who has done more for Tibet?
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2019, 07:12:55 AM »
It is very obvious that the Chinese government had done more than what CTA can do for Tibet in 60 years. Since the Chinese occupation of Tibet, Tibet had evolved and improved so much. Chinese’s regime and investments had worked wonders in Tibet and now Tibet has infrastructures such as highways and airports which will contribute to the advancement of the whole country.

The Chinese are even investing in preserving Tibet’s culture and religion contrary to what CTA has been saying. They invested in monasteries and gives funding to repair important heritage sites. They are doing more than what CTA had achieved in the past 60 years.

Now that fewer Tibetans are migrating from Tibet to India shows that the living environment in Tibet is much more favorable compared to the environment in India. That is why they choose to stay rather than going back to their believed government in India. This speaks volumes of how good the Chinese had made it in Tibet and this is certainly what CTA does not want us to see.


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Re: Then and now, Xi Jinping and the CTA, who has done more for Tibet?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2019, 09:57:32 AM »
Let's take a look at the past 60 years what has the CTA achieved and what has the Chinese government achieved. For the past 60 years, China has grown so fast, from a closed and isolated communist country, it has become the most powerful economy in the world. The CTA instead of progressing, they are going backward. From a government, they was downgraded to an administration and they no longer can use the Prime Minister title but President.

Tibet under the ruling of the Chinese government has also progressed a lot. Lhasa has become very modern and developed. They have the most amazing highland railway, highways linking with other cities in China, they have good educational institutions and all the basic amnesty. The tourism industry has generated a lot of income to the Tibetans. The lives of the Tibetans have improved tremendously.

If we look at the CTA, they are not producing any positive result for the past 60 years. The Tibetans are still refugees and they are not sure when they will free Tibet or go back to Tibet. Many Tibetans are still living in poverty and they are struggling but the CTA is not doing anything to help them. So who has done more for the Tibetans? It is not hard to tell, China has done so much more than the CTA.


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Re: Then and now, Xi Jinping and the CTA, who has done more for Tibet?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2019, 06:44:41 PM »
President Xi definitely has done more for Tibet than CTA. Since the 80s, the Chinese government has invested a lot in Tibet to help with the restoration of Buddhist monasteries and heritage. Recently, the Chinese government has also started the restoration work on Potala Palace. If the Chinese government is ill-treating Tibetans, why do they invest so much money in Tibet?

Let's look at what the CTA has done for Tibet. More than 150 lives sacrificed for Free Tibet movement. Money contributed to improving the lives of the Tibetans in Tibet, zero. CTA did not do any good for Tibet but they indirectly kill the Tibetans. The most disgusting thing is they make money from those who self-immolated.

To say China does not give human rights to Tibetans, I really don't think so. Everyone is free to practice what they want to practice. The Dalai Lama is banned in Tibet, not because of religious reason, but because he influences the Tibetans negatively and it creates disharmony in the society. CTA on the hand is suppressing the practice of a belief which is Dorje Shugden, no religious freedom is given to the Tibetans in exile. Which is the better government? It is not hard to tell.


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Re: Then and now, Xi Jinping and the CTA, who has done more for Tibet?
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2019, 11:25:05 PM »
Oh, this is such a simple answer. President Xi Jinping wins hands down. Look at the current Tibet as compared to the state of the Tibetan refugees camps in India. Tibet has been modernised to boost their economy, the people were given training skills, rights for ownership, ample opportunities and higher standards of living conditions through President Xi's governance. The Tibetan refugees camps are mostly in bad conditions with no opportunities at all for the people under CTA rule. Even after billions of USD sponsorships over the years that was meant for the welfare of the Tibetans in exile, nothing had improved for these poor people. They have to find their own way out of their situation and even now, they are facing the issue of their statelessness. CTA finds ways to obstruct their remaining people in camps from gaining passports of other countries as they need them to gain sympathy for sponsorships to line their pockets. All CTA had done for Tibet is to come out with a manual on "How to Self-Immolate"! Wow! So productive.


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Re: Then and now, Xi Jinping and the CTA, who has done more for Tibet?
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2019, 05:25:29 AM »
Why is this even worthy of a discussion thread? It is so obvious and everyone knows. Only the Tibetans in exile that is being shielded by the Tibetan government will have absolutely no idea what is going on and probably being brainwashed by CTA to think that they are the best government in the world. There are so many tell-tale signs that Tibet is becoming a much better place than before when CTA is still ruling over it.

One of the best evidence will be the amount of Tibetans fleeing Tibet to join CTA in India. There is only 80 Tibetans in the entire year of 2018 that fled to India from Tibet. It is a huge difference where thousands of Tibetans flee from Tibet to India. The dramatic plunge of the number of Tibetans leaving Tibet to India means that the situation in Tibet is getting better and they actually choose to stay back in Tibet rather than going to India reuniting with the government that they are familiar with.

China really did a good job in providing for the Tibetans in Tibet. They succeeded in reducing poverty dramatically and organized self-help workshops that can improve the quality of life of those Tibetans. China also invested tons of funds into building up Tibet as well as the preservation of heritage and religious sites in Tibet. They are doing a much better job than the Tibetan government can ever do.


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Re: Then and now, Xi Jinping and the CTA, who has done more for Tibet?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2019, 03:02:43 AM »
Well after 60 years in exile, the Tibetan government in exile (now downgraded as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA)) continues to parade the Tibetan refugees as poor dependent refugees that require a lot of help and cannot stand their own feet to attract donations.

President Xi Jinping, on the other hand, has successfully created so many opportunities for the Tibetan in exile and alleviate many Tibetans from poverty. Now we can see Tibetans in China became famous singers or performers.

Definitely, the Tibetans are better off under President Xi than under the CTA.


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Re: Then and now, Xi Jinping and the CTA, who has done more for Tibet?
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2019, 03:13:15 AM »
Well with a PM that cheats his people and misappropriate funds that can be distributed to his own people? And the people are really not happy with it:

Lobsang Sangay is losing his own people's support. I guess this is the karma he has created for splitting his own people up and getting involved in people's religion. A democratic government should never put its nose in religious matters. That is not how a democratic nation is run, obviously, CTA is only democratic by name.     


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Re: Then and now, Xi Jinping and the CTA, who has done more for Tibet?
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2019, 03:38:39 AM »
China has definitely done A LOT for the Tibetans in Tibet. China also do A LOT for people outside of China through the "Belt and Road" project. Just so everyone is aware that this project is for real and the port project in Sri Lanka has begun to pay off!

After much, much criticism especially from China's economic competitiveness, the economic spin-offs from the Hambantota Port begin to rain.

Sri Lanka Will Get a $3.9 Billion Refinery Next to China-Run Hambantota Port

Sri Lanka’s export earnings may rise as much as $7 billion because of the refinery.

By Bharatha Mallawarachi
March 20, 2019
A Singapore-based company and the government of Oman have pledged to build a $3.9 billion oil refinery next to a Chinese-controlled port in what will be the largest foreign investment ever for the Indian Ocean island nation, officials said on Tuesday.

The refinery will be a joint venture for the Singapore-based Silver Park International Private Limited firm and the Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Oil and Gas, said Nalin Bandara, Sri Lanka’s deputy minister of international trade. Construction will begin next week and the refinery is expected to be up and running in 2023, he said.

“This is the biggest foreign investment in the country’s history,” Bandara told reporters in the capital Colombo.

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The refinery will produce 200,000 barrels per day, mainly for export, though Sri Lankan companies could place orders for refined products and sell them to local consumers.

The refinery and a tank farm will be built on 237 hectares (585 acres) of land lying about 235 kilometers (146 miles) south of Colombo, near the Hambantota port that is controlled by a Chinese firm.

Sri Lanka leased the Chinese-built port located near the planet’s busiest east-west shipping route — to a Chinese firm in 2017 for 99 years in a bid to recover from the heavy burden of repaying a loan obtained the country received to build the facility.

The port is part of Beijing’s so-called string-of-pearls plan for a line of ports stretching from Chinese waters to the Persian Gulf.

China’s influence in Sri Lanka makes neighboring India anxious because it considers the Indian Ocean region to be its strategic backyard. Sri Lankan government has been trying to balance both Asian giants. Sri Lankan officials have reiterated that the port’s security will be handled by the government in an attempt to allay fears that the port could be used by China as a military hub.

Bandara said Silver Park has 70 per cent stake in the joint venture, while Oman controls 30 percent.

The investment comes as Sri Lanka struggles to repay $5.9 billion in foreign loans this year, of which 40 percent that must be serviced by the end of this month. The country used its reserves to repay a $1 billion sovereign bond loan in January.

Much of Sri Lanka’s foreign debt is from China, with loans obtained to build highways and other infrastructure projects, including some that have become white elephants, deepening the country’s debt burden.

Sri Lanka’s export earnings are expected to rise $7 billion because of the refinery, Bandara said.

By Bharatha Mallawarachi for the Associated Press.


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Re: Then and now, Xi Jinping and the CTA, who has done more for Tibet?
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2019, 03:55:51 AM »
I think this is a discussion that is beyond discussion.  ;D Just look at the number of Tibetans coming from Tibet and leaving India each year, observe the trend, the answer is there. No matter what the CTA is trying to explain, the number is the fact. There's nothing else they can say to justify.