The Sri Lankan Ministry of National Integration, Official Languages and Social Progress will be teaching Tamil to the staff of the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka and other Chinese nationals in the island wanting to learn the language, cabinet minister Mano Ganeshan said in a press release here on Friday.
The Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Cheng Xueyuan had told him during a meeting earlier in the day, that the staff of his embassy, Chinese corporate executives and even Chinese visitors to the country may want to learn Tamil, and sought the Minister’s help.
Ganeshan readily responded and announced that he is appointing a Ministry official to coordinate activities in this matter.
Minister Ganeshan had sought a meeting with the Ambassador to apprise him about the non-use of Tamil in sign boards in Chinese project sites in the country. He explained that both Sinhalese and Tamil are official languages of Sri Lanka with English as the link language and that it is mandatory to use all the three languages in official name boards and signboards.
Ambassador Cheng apologized for not adhering to this rule and said that it was not the intention of the Chinese to show any disregard for Tamil, which he knew, is an ancient language.
He said that he is asking the diplomat in charge of commercial relations to coordinate with Ganeshan’s ministry to see that Tamil is used in the signboards and the words are spelled properly.
Cheng further said that he is aware of the good ethnic reconciliation work being carried out by Minister Ganeshan and offered China’s assistance to carry the work forward.