Stories of state gifts to Xi: Rubbing of Zheng He Galle Stele witnesses friendly exchanges between Chinese and Sri Lankans

(People's Daily Online) 16:24, June 12, 2023

Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Sri Lanka on Sept. 16, 2014. The then-Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa presented Xi with a rubbing of the Zheng He Galle Stele as a state gift.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, wave to the welcoming crowd upon their arrival in Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka, Sept. 16, 2014. (Photo/Ma Zhancheng)

The stele was brought to Sri Lanka by Zheng He, the legendary Chinese navigator, in the early 15th century. Zheng and members of his fleet communicated with locals, traded goods with them and presented steles to them as a gesture of goodwill.

Zheng's fleet built steles wherever it went. What Zheng brought to these places was not chaos, but peace and prosperity, Xi said while introducing a replica of the ancient stele and a rubbing to leaders of foreign countries during a cultural relic exhibition before the opening of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations on May 15, 2019.

A rubbing of the Zheng He Galle Stele, a state gift presented to Chinese President Xi Jinping by the then Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in September 2014. (Photo/Hu Yang)

China and Sri Lanka established a strategic cooperative partnership in 2013, and Sri Lanka is the first country to pledge support for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In 2016, China became Sri Lanka's biggest trading partner and source of imports for the first time. In 2019, the Colombo Port City project, invested and built by a Chinese company, completed land reclamation amounting to 269 hectares.

The Sri Lankans said that unlike other countries, China helps their country with no strings attached. When many less developed countries are left behind in economic globalization, the BRI proposed by President Xi welcomes countries of the world to board the "express train" of China's development, enabling different countries and people of different colors to create development opportunities together, and share development outcomes.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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