BBC Chinese recently reported that local residents in port Hambantota, Sri Lanka, clashed with the police. A groundbreaking ceremony triggered the incident. In an agreement, the government granted full management rights of the port to a Chinese company to build an industrial park. The rental agreement is for a period of 99 years. The conflict happened when Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Yi Xianliang, were attending the groundbreaking ceremony for the industrial park. According to the development agreement, thousands of villagers had to move out. The opposition complained that the agreement is turning the port into a “Chinese colony.” However, the government said all impacted villagers will be given new land. China has been investing in Sri Lanka on a large scale since 2009, when the nation’s civil war ended. This recent conflict resulted in 21 injured and 52 arrested. Sri Lanka is strategically located in the so-called “String of Pearls” in South Asia.
Source: BBC Chinese, January 7, 2017