The ulterior motives of China’s geopolitical and diplomatic moves in relation to Sri Lanka over the years now seems to be exposed to the world in the light of the fact that the Chinese Ambassador in Colombo has hastily announced his decision to meet with the Maha Nayaka Theros of both the Asgiriya and Malwatte chapters in Kandy this week with convoys of food items purported as relief assistance under the current economic crisis.
This hastily arranged ‘food relief’ that has not been forthcoming in the past months and years despite repeated requests is now to reach the hands of the Venerable Maha Nayaka Theros at a time when the Maha Nayaka Theros have just returned from Bodh Gaya in India where the five year International Bhikkhu Exchange programme was launched with the participation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as one of the chief participants and also the participation of the Maha Nayaka Theros of the three Nikyas of the Sri Lankan Maha Sangha.
On that occasion, the Sri Lankan Maha Sangha had an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, for discussions on Buddhist religious topics and the Maha Nayaka Theros had reiterated on their invitation to His Holiness to visit Sri Lanka in the immediate future. So, it is obvious that the motive behind this sudden meeting and offer of the Chinese Ambassador is nothing other than an indirect pressure on the Maha Nayaka Theros to desist from inviting His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The Maha Nayaka Theros and the Sri Lankan Maha Sangha have been desperate for food relief to be provided to the down-trodden and crisis-affected people of the central province over the last one and a half years and after making direct requests to China, they were disappointed since there were no signs of any food relief from China arriving.
They lately visited Bodh Gaya to take part in the International Bhikkhu Exchange Programme at Bodh Gaya on December 27, 2022, with the Mahanayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter, as the chief guest and they met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, for discussions on religious matters.
They also discussed the Sri Lankan economic crisis after renewing their invitation to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to visit Sri Lanka with strong hopes and anticipation that his visit would have the salutary result of thousands of tourists from the Buddhist world visiting Sri Lanka as religious tourists and, furthermore, many of his followers who are affluent and are heads of multinational companies would invest in Sri Lanka in an effort to boost the fallen economy of this Buddhist land and help us bounce back. And at this very moment, China is hurrying to meet the Maha Nayaka Theros with convoys of food relief obviously to dissuade them from inviting the Dalai Lama to Sri Lanka.
There were very good signals that the followers of the Dalai Lama in the Buddhist countries, especially in the Western countries, demonstrated a tendency to invest in Sri Lanka and also there was clear signs that religious tourists in their thousands would come as tourists to Sr Lanka after the Dalai Lama’s visit.
Every genuine Buddhist strongly believes that the Maha Sangha will fall prey to the conspiracy of China. This is how China wants to help Sri Lanka.
(By a special correspondent)