Sri Lanka’s deafening silence on Tibet and gratitude to S Mahinda Thero

March 25, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is maintaining a diplomatic silence on the recent Chinese crackdown on protests in Buddhist Tibet as China is one of its main arms suppliers in the war against Tamil Tiger separatists, analysts say. “¦when the Buddhists in Tibet cry for their freedom, shouldn’t Sri Lanka, being a Buddhist country, show solidarity with them?” asks Colombo-based journalist Ameen Izzadeen writing in the Khaleej Times.

“Isn’t Sri Lanka constitutionally bound to protect and promote Buddhism?”

Sri Lanka’s constitution gives Buddhism “the foremost place” and says that “it shall be the duty of the state to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana,” or the continuation of Buddhism and its followers as a whole.

Sri Lanka’s leaders have invoked this constitutional provision to fund Buddhist projects in foreign countries, Izzadeen says.

Then why, he asks, is Sri Lanka silent on the Chinese crackdown on Buddhist Tibetans?

“The likely answer is: Buddhist Sri Lanka’s survival is much more important than the political future of the Buddhist Tibet.”

Sri Lanka is “heavily indebted” to China in supporting its war against the Tamil Tigers with regular supplies of weapons, especially when other countries re