Feature Article

Gotabaya's ex-commander turned foreign-secretary abets China's genocide of Uyghur Muslims

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 04 March 2020, 19:11 GMT]
Former SL Navy Commander Admiral (retd) Jayanath Siri Kumara Colombage, who serves SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as additional secretary on foreign relations has defended China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims at the UN Human Rights Council. The Chinese and Cameroonian missions to the UN in Geneva were sponsoring a symposium as a side-event on Monday. “Every country should deal with terrorism using solutions that fit its conditions the best. The question of what kind of anti-terrorism measures should be taken in Xinjiang should be decided by the Chinese government. No one can tell China what it should do, just as no one can tell Sri Lanka what to do,” Colombage told Global Times on Wednesday. The “Admiral Professor,” a friend of pro-China Shavedra Silva, was talking to the Chinese paper after the symposium along with other “scholars” of his character and calibre from China and Serbia.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who visited Colombo in January went on record stating that China would “not allow any outside influences to interfere with matters that are essentially internal concerns of Sri Lanka,” especially after he met Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Jayanath Colombage
“Admiral Professor” Jayanath Colombage
This week, Gotabaya’s foreign relations secretary was returning the gesture at Geneva at the side-event, titled, “International Symposium on Counterterrorism, De-radicalization and Human Rights Protection”.

“The Chinese government has the right to take necessary measures to protect its citizens. Now when I go to Xinjiang, I can go anywhere without worrying about being attacked by terrorists,” Colombage told the paper, which is operated by the Chinese Communist Party.

The China Daily was also talking to Colombage at Geneva. "When I went to the education training center, what I saw is that young people there now have the hope of life," he was quoted as saying.

"They told us earlier on they didn't have any hope because they didn't have good education or good skills to work, so they were easily led by extreme ideology," Colombage justified China's approach.

China's side-event in Geneva with Colombage attending the event
An international symposium on counter-terrorism, de-radicalization and promotion and protection of human rights is held during the ongoing 43rd regular session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, March 2, 2020. (Photo by Li Ye/Xinhua)

While China claims that the internment camps are vocational education and training centres for young people, the people who have escaped the detention as well as leaked guides of the authorities reveal torture, psychological indoctrination and other cruel forms of treatment at the camps.

[Video courtesy: VOX, 07 May 2019]

“Admiral Prof” Colombage was dispatched to Geneva as part of the SL Delegation to the 43rd session of the UNHRC in addition to SL Foreign Minister and his crew for the withdrawal of SL co-sponsorship of the “consensus” resolution.

Colombage was SL Navy Commander under the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, between September 2012 and June 2014. He was promoted to Admiral rank by Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage in China
“Admiral Prof” Jayanath Colombage addressing conference in Ürümqi in Xinjiang in September 2019 when he was a director at Milinda Moragoda's Pathfinder Foundation [Photo courtesy: chinahumanrights.org]
Before becoming secretary to Gotabaya, Colombage was a director at “Pathfinder Foundation,” a geopolitical outfit founded by former SL Minister Milinda Moragoda, who was almost an ‘informer’ for the US Establishment during the times of war and the Norwegian mediated peace process.

The US embassy cables brought out by the WikiLeaks have exposed the level of trust and relationship Mr Moragoda was having with the US Establishment.

Colombage, while being a director at the Pathfinder Foundation was visiting China to defend its position in Xinjiang, amongst others at an “International Seminar on Counterterrorism, De-radicalization and Human Rights Protection,” held in Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang in September 2019. He was presenting a paper on “Counterterrorism and Deradicalization: Lessons Learnt from the Sri Lankan Experience” in that seminar.

[Video courtesy: CGTN, 15 October 2019]

Milinda Moragoda is extensively focused on ‘Sri Lanka - China’, ‘Sri Lanka - US’ and ‘Indo-Lanka’ relations. He facilitates several exchange projects with global establishments through his NGO and think-tanker networks, which are also known for corruption and exploitation.

Mr Moragoda is canvassing for a “National Security Strategy 2020” for the SL State and his outfit has come up with a proposal in October 2019.

“Sri Lanka should consider developing a multi-directional foreign policy as has been practiced by Vietnam relying on ‘three no’s policy i.e., ‘no participation in military alliances, no foreign military bases on Vietnamese territory, and no reliance on one country to fight against another’,” the Pathfinder document says.

Moragoda is also advocating to drop the Provincial Council system. A document titled, Fresh Thinking for a new Generation - An Agenda, authored by him in October 2017 claims that “Provincial Councils, an ineffective system which costs us Rs 250 billion rupees annually, shall be abolished, while the powers and scope of Local Government institutions (Municipal Councils, Urban Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas) shall be increased”.

Milinda Moragoda [centre] and Colombage with visiting Chinese officials at Pathfinder Foundation in
Milinda Moragoda [centre] and Colombage with visiting Chinese officials at Pathfinder Foundation in Colombo in November 2019

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a US citizen who maintained high-level links with the Pentagon during the times of genocidal onslaught on Eezham Tamils and its aftermath, relied upon US “counter-insurgency” and “anti-terrorism” agents and ‘scholars’. His ‘Sri Lanka model’ of counter-insurgency was a topic discussed with interest within the US defence establishment, especially during the Obama Administration.

Today, Gotabaya talks about an independent foreign policy, “non-alignment” and about not taking any military side with the major powers engaged in the great power competition in the Indo-Pacific. Gotabaya avoids to refer the region Indo-Pacific and excludes even the term the Indian Ocean. He has been promoting the idea of “Sea of Lanka” or “Sri Lankan Sea” through proxy media outlets in Colombo.

In the meantime, the so-called leftist Sinhala nationalists, who were all prepared to serve Mahinda Rajapaksa in the past are now reluctant to publicly take sides with Gotabaya Rajapaksa as they still regard him as unreliable with his past US background. Furthermore, they see him as a populist, not capable of philosophical or ideological “integrity” to defend their servitude to him.

They also think that Gotabaya would start to collaborate with the US on military and strategic affairs after consolidating the regime through the forthcoming elections.

[Save Uighur Campaign’s activist, Aydin Anwar, who represented Justice For All at the UN Security Council interacts with Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun at a civil society dialogue. Video courtesy: Talk East Turkestan, 04 March 2020]

* * *

There are credible allegations of the modus operandi of concentration camps, where Uyghur Muslims are forcibly detained and subjected to psychological genocide in China’s far-northwest autonomous region of Xinjiang. However, China brushes off the criticism as propaganda originating from the Western media.

[Video courtesy: DW News (Deutsche Welle), 17 July 2019]

[Video courtesy: The Newsmakers, TRT World, 29 November 2019]

[Video courtesy: DW News (Deutsche Welle), 14 December 2019]

[Video courtesy: Democracy Now, 09 January 2020]

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External Links:
China Daily: Training programs offer young people hope in Xinjiang
Counter Point: Pathfinder National Security Strategy for Sri Lanka 2020
chinahumanrights.org: Jayanath Colombage: Counterterrorism and Deradicalization: Lessons Learnt from the Sri Lankan Experience
Global Times: Misusing human rights issues shows West's double standards on anti-terrorism: scholars
chinahumanrights.org: International symposium on anti-terrorism, de-radicalization and human rights held in Geneva
chinahumanrights.org: Foreign scholars applaud China’s anti-terror efforts



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