Questions were raised in Sri Lanka’s parliament how China’s embassy invited them to a ‘study tour’ of Colombo Port City where a bill to set up a regulatory commission for the reclaimed area is currently challenged at the Supreme Court.
Opposition legislator Harshana Rajakaruna, dressed in black to mark Islamist suicide attacks on Easter Sunday April 21 in 2019 read out a text message from the parliament saying that a visit to Colombo Port City on the invitation of the Chinese embassy in Colombo had been postponed.
“Why is the Chinese embassy directing this study visit?” he questioned. “In the last administration when a tour was arranged, the Urban Development Authority did it.
“Why is the Chinese embassy taking the country’s parliamentarians to this land which the government is saying it has control over?
“Please investigate this matter.”
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunewardene jumped up to object, shouting down catcalls from excited opposition members.
“It is totally irrelevant,” Gunewardene bawled across the aisle. “There is a debate that is on.”
But Speaker Mahida Yapa Abeywardene said he will look into the matter.
Some critics and monks supporting the administrations has slammed a bill set up a governing agency for the Port City as an attempt to create a ‘Chinese colony’.
The bill seeks to exclude the area, reclaimed by China Harbhour Engineering Corporation, state-run Chinese firm, from several laws.
Opposition legislators made fun of the administration questioning why the ‘one country, one law’ slogan during the election campaign no longer applied.