Are Chinese Telecoms acting as the ears for the Sri Lankan government?

At a time when China’s portfolio in Sri Lanka’s economy is growing exponentially, questions over the bona fides of its massive investments in our national communications networks won’t go down well with the Chinese or Sri Lankan governments. ZTE and Huawei have themselves responded to the US Congressional investigations into their operations, with the expected repudiation of all the charges of espionage. Concerns over their operations in Sri Lanka will no doubt be taken to be come from quarters who are anyway opposed to government and scoffed at by all the Sri Lankan telcos themselves. Yet the issue is more than just of deep concern for the dwindling dissent within the country, and the few human rights activists who dare speak out against the regime. The communications network infrastructure in question connects us all, irrespective of any kind of party political, ethnic or other identity and geo-physical based divide. It is the DNA of our country, and how we engage with domestic challenges as well as global opportunities. It may be only of concern to a few today, but the implications of possible network intrusions, that go undetected for years, if at all, affects us all.

Perhaps the example of the Trojan Horse – seen overwhelmingly as a gift, but with deadly consequences – is apt to recall.

Read my full article on Groundviews.

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