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University students speak with police during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
University students speak with police during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka’s President Is Girding Himself for the Long Haul

Despite two months of anti-government protests, Gotabaya Rajapaksa doesn’t seem like a leader preparing to relinquish power.

Buddhist monks take part in demonstration outside the president's office in Colombo on April 26.
Buddhist monks take part in demonstration outside the president's office in Colombo on April 26.

How the Rajapaksas Destroyed Sri Lanka’s Economy

Crony capitalism, protectionism, and corruption have caused havoc—uniting various ethnic groups, including Sinhalese Buddhists, in protest against the regime.

A man carries a child on his shoulders during an anti-government demonstration in Sri Lanka.
A man carries a child on his shoulders during an anti-government demonstration in Sri Lanka.

Inside Sri Lanka’s Unprecedented Mass Protests

Demonstrators have already made an impact but lack a unified agenda—and face a state notorious for crushing dissent.

Demonstrators take part in a protest against Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Demonstrators take part in a protest against Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa Leadership Won’t Step Down

As the brothers helming the government struggle with a spiraling economic crisis, they still have legislators and generals behind them—for now.

A Chinese soldier stands with Sri Lankan military personnel during a training exercise in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, on Sept. 23, 2019.
A Chinese soldier stands with Sri Lankan military personnel during a training exercise in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, on Sept. 23, 2019.

Across South Asia, U.S. and India Push Back Against China

Beijing’s strategic initiatives on the subcontinent are sputtering.

Tea pickers remove weeds at an organic tea plantation.
Tea pickers remove weeds at an organic tea plantation.

In Sri Lanka, Organic Farming Went Catastrophically Wrong

A nationwide experiment is abandoned after producing only misery.

China and the Maldives’ presidents attend a welcome ceremony.
China and the Maldives’ presidents attend a welcome ceremony.

China’s Two-Ocean Strategy Puts India in a Pincer

The Chinese foreign minister’s island hopping is the latest sign of contestation over the Indo-Pacific.

A woman carrying food bags walks pasts people queuing outside a state-run supermarket in Sri Lanka.
A woman carrying food bags walks pasts people queuing outside a state-run supermarket in Sri Lanka.

How to End Sri Lanka’s Food Crisis

Ignoring economists and committing human rights violations come at a high cost for the country’s economy.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa addresses the nation along with army commander Shavendra Silva, navy chief Nishantha Ulugetenne, and air force chief Sudarshana Pathirana during Independence Day celebrations in Colombo on Feb. 4.
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa addresses the nation along with army commander Shavendra Silva, navy chief Nishantha Ulugetenne, and air force chief Sudarshana Pathirana during Independence Day celebrations in Colombo on Feb. 4.

The United Nations Turns Up the Heat on Rajapaksa

As Sri Lanka’s human rights record worsens, the world body tries to hold the country accountable for past crimes.

A man walks past a billboard for the construction of an oil refinery and storage facility in the port city of Hambantota, Sri Lanka, on March 24, 2019.
A man walks past a billboard for the construction of an oil refinery and storage facility in the port city of Hambantota, Sri Lanka, on March 24, 2019.

Chinese Belt and Road Investment Isn’t All Bad—or Good

As Sri Lanka shows, when it comes to Chinese debt, small states have agency and great powers have responsibilities.

The Chinese-funded Colombo Port City project is seen jutting into the ocean in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Nov. 8, 2018.
The Chinese-funded Colombo Port City project is seen jutting into the ocean in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Nov. 8, 2018.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative Is a Mess, Not a Master Plan

Beijing’s foreign investments are often money-losing and driven by recipients’ own agendas.

Mahinda Rajapaksa prays during a ceremony before formally assuming prime ministerial duties in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Aug. 11.
Mahinda Rajapaksa prays during a ceremony before formally assuming prime ministerial duties in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Aug. 11.

Rajapaksa Rule

Sri Lanka’s ruling party promised quick and decisive leadership. But with an economic meltdown looming, it should also be careful.

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa arrives at his swearing-in ceremony outside Colombo on Aug. 9.
Sri Lanka Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa arrives at his swearing-in ceremony outside Colombo on Aug. 9.

Rajapaksa, in a Landslide

After a major victory, the family will be able to reshape Sri Lanka to ensure their control for the long term.

Sri Lanka migrants bound for Australia remain on their boat despite it being washed ashore.
Sri Lanka migrants bound for Australia remain on their boat despite it being washed ashore.

For Sri Lankan Refugees, a Free and Fair Australia Is a Myth

A murder mystery is an indictment of Australia’s draconian immigration policy that has left many legitimate asylum-seekers detained, deported, or dead.

Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa
Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Is Sri Lanka Becoming a De Facto Junta?

In under a year, Gotabaya Rajapaksa—the former defense secretary-turned-president—has bent the democracy to its breaking point.

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