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Rising China's Influence in Developing Asia$
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Evelyn Goh

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198758518

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198758518.001.0001

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China’s Influence in Sri Lanka

China’s Influence in Sri Lanka

Negotiating Development, Authoritarianism, and Regional Transformation

Chapter:
(p.129) 6 China’s Influence in Sri Lanka
Source:
Rising China's Influence in Developing Asia
Author(s):

Neil DeVotta

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198758518.003.0006

This chapter emphasizes the important mediating role played by domestic politics and corruption in determining the degree of Chinese influence. It describes Sri Lanka’s ‘hard authoritarian’ governance system under the Mahinda Rajapaksa government and reveals the regime’s deep-seated complicity with China’s growing presence. China has not so far made significant demands on Sri Lanka’s behaviour or outlook, and there is little evidence of Chinese attempts to prevail upon it. To the contrary, it is the ruling elite in Colombo that has mobilized Chinese investment, presence and interest to promote its own domestic political, commercial, and regional agendas. By exploring the commercial, political, and strategic impacts of key Chinese infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka, the author finds that the main impact of China’s growing involvement in Sri Lanka has been to fuel some conciliatory change in India’s approach to its neighbour—an unintended consequence that may undermine future Chinese influence.

Keywords:   Sri Lanka, China, Rajapaksa, Hambantota, infrastructure, corruption, civil war, soft authoritarianism, preference multiplying, discursive persuasion

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