During the regular press briefing Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian yesterday reaffirmed that China pays close attention to and feels for the difficulties and challenges facing Sri Lanka.
He said, as traditional friendly neighbors, China pays close attention to and feels for the difficulties and challenges facing Sri Lanka. We have all along provided support to Sri Lanka’s socioeconomic development as long as our ability permits. China has announced that it would provide emergency humanitarian assistance worth 500 million RMB for Sri Lanka. The first delivery of medicine has arrived in Sri Lanka, and the first shipment of rice has left China for Sri Lanka. Through government-to-government and subnational channels and through friendly organizations, China has provided multiple batches of assistance in diverse forms to people across the sectors of Sri Lanka to improve their livelihood.
As to China-Sri Lanka financial cooperation, shortly after the Sri Lankan government announced to suspend international debt payments, Chinese financial institutions reached out to the Sri Lankan side and expressed their readiness to find a proper way to handle the matured debts related to China and help Sri Lanka to overcome the current difficulties. We hope Sri Lanka will work actively with China in a similar spirit and work out a feasible solution expeditiously. China is ready to work with relevant countries and international financial institutions to continue to play a positive role in supporting Sri Lanka’s response to current difficulties and efforts to ease debt burden and realize sustainable development. In the meantime, we believe Sri Lanka will boost its own effort, protect the legitimate rights and interests of the investment and financing partners and ensure the stability and credibility of Sri Lanka’s investment and financing environment.
South Asian countries, along with the other countries in our neighboring areas, are China’s priority in its diplomacy. China attaches great importance to forging closer good neighborly relations with its neighbors and has worked hard to this end. China and South Asian countries are each other’s friendly neighbors and development partners. Together we belong to one community with a shared future. From natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis, to global challenges like financial crises and COVID-19, history has shown that China has always stood in solidarity with South Asian countries through difficult times. Under the current circumstances, China will work with relevant countries to respond to risks and challenges and pursue high-quality Belt and Road cooperation to jointly sustain the sound momentum of security, stability, cooperation and development in our region and bring great benefits for all peoples in this region.
Zhao Lijian said, the US government itself is the primary spreader of disinformation. German writer Michael Lüders pointed out in his book Die scheinheilige Supermacht (The Hypocritical Superpower) that the US government is very adept at selecting and distorting facts, limiting the source of information and polarizing public opinions in order to blur the facts and influence people’s judgment. When the waters are muddied, it is certainly easier to fish for geopolitical and economic gains.
US politicians might get away with irresponsible statements, but it is the ordinary people who could pay the ultimate price for disinformation. The US used a vial of white powder as so-called evidence of possession of weapons of mass destruction and waged war on Iraq, which killed about 200,000 to 250,000 Iraqi civilians. Citing a staged video by the “White Helmet” and the false intelligence it provided as “evidence”, the US launched the so-called “most precise air campaign in history” against Syria, claiming more than 1,600 innocent civilian lives in a single strike.
You may still remember that the US downplayed the threat and speed of coronavirus’ transmission at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and kept spreading disinformation about the origins of the virus. Disinformation about COVID-19 was rated by a certain US website as “2020 Lie of the Year”. As a result, more than one million innocent American lives have been lost to the virus, making the US the country with the highest COVID-19 death toll as well as the most confirmed cases.
The more lies the US government tells, the greater the reputational damage and its credibility deficit. According to the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, only about 39 percent of American respondents said they trusted their country’s government, which is near the lowest level ever recorded. The US needs to stop fabricating and disseminating false information, and stop taking pride in being “an empire of lies”.
Zhao said the underlying reason for the recurring conflicts between Israel and Palestine and ongoing tensions over the occupied Palestinian territory is that the historical injustices done to the Palestinian people have been left unaddressed for too long and that the Palestinian people’s legitimate aspiration of establishing an independent state has long been denied.—GT