Former PM’s promotion of Beijing-backed development in Sri Lanka has increased concern he could be a pawn for Xi Jinping

When Chinese president Xi Jinping cut the ribbon on Sri Lanka’s Port City Colombo construction site in September 2014, it was promoted as a future major hub in China’s global infrastructure project, the belt and road initiative.

With a financial centre, beach-front villas and an international yacht marina, the city is aiming to be a rival to Dubai and Singapore. China has already invested $1.4bn in the development, which is due to be completed by 2041.

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