Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse gifted China on Monday
with a young elephant named Migara who will live at the Beijing
The 5-year-old elephant, which weigh nearly a ton, is named
after an ancient Sri Lankan chancellor. Migara, the elephant, will
help mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic
relations between the two countries. This year has also been
designated as China-Sri Lank Friendship Year.
At the presentation ceremony, Rajapakse said the elephant is
most revered by the Sri Lankan people, and Migara represents their
friendship towards the Chinese people.
"I believe Migara will adapt to his new home in Beijing very
Chandana Rajapaksa, a veterinary from the Pinnawella Elephant
Orphanage, where Migara was raised, says "sending elephants to
other countries is a special way to express the goodwill of the Sri
This is not the first time that the Sri Lankan governmental
leaders tried to demonstrate their friendship towards the Chinese.
Previously in 1972, Mrs. Sirimavo R.D. Bandaranaike, in 1979
Ranasinghe Premadasa both then prime ministers of the south Asian
island country gave China two elephants respectively.
Zheng Ruixiang, a researcher on south Asian issues with the
China Institute of International Studies said the state visit by
the Sri Lankan president and the presentation of state gifts are
evidence of not only the firm traditional friendship between the
two countries but increasing economic ties.
Total trade volume between China and Sri Lanka reached
US$1.44129 billion in 2006, increasing by 16.9 percent over the
previous year, including US$1.10646 billion of exports and US$34.83
million of imports.
During his stay in Beijing, Rajapakse is to hold talks with
President Hu Jintao, and meet with top legislator Wu Bangguo and
Premier Wen Jiabao separately. Rajapakse will attend a celebration
banquet together with top advisor Jia Qinglin.
(Xinhua News Agency February 27, 2007)