Thu, Jul 03, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Lawmaker tries to use royal local

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A lawmaker yesterday urged the government to improve ties with Sri Lanka since a Taiwanese man, found to be a royal descendant of the ancient Ceylon Kingdom, is willing to contribute for bilateral exchanges.

"The confirmation of Shyh Lai-faa (世來法) as a descendant of a Sri Lankan royal family encouraged us because Shyh is able to help the government to advance trade, tourism and even diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka," said DPP Legislator Chang Ching-fang (張清芳).

According to Chang, Shyh represents the 19th generation of Ba Lai Naa, Sri Lankan prince who was sent to China by his father, King Parakramabahu, and lived there until the 15th generation of descendents shifted their residence to Taiwan for economic reasons.

The royal descendant, who is a resident of Changhua County, contacted the government of Sri Lanka in 1999 and visited the country in June last year.

The ancient kingdom of Ceylon no longer exists, but Shyh received a friendly response from the Sri Lankan Culture Ministry, as the government started to search in 1985 for other lost royal descendents in China, the lawmaker said.

Chang urged that the government to promote a closer ties with Sri Lanka, a longtime diplomatic partner of Beijing.

"The government should voice support for Shyh and prevent him from being recognized a royal with close ties to Fujian, China by the Sri Lankan authorities," Chang said.

Both Chang and Shyh believed that an improved relationship between Sri Lanka and Taiwan could offer a new place for Taiwanese to do business.

"Incentives offered by the Sri Lankan government, such as a five-year immunity from taxation, are very attractive to foreign investors," said a Taiwanese investor in Sri Lanka who attended yesterday's press conference.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday declined to comment on Chang's press conference.

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