Invaluable role played by Philip – Kusuma Gunawardena couple for China Sri Lanka friendship- Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The 73rd anniversary celebration of the Sri Lanka China Friendship Association was held under the patronage of Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on 21.09.2023 at The Temple Trees.

Addressing the gathering, Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong said that the strong foundation laid by Philip-Kusuma Gunawardena couple in the 1940s for the China-Sri Lanka Friendship Association is most valuable.

Mrs. Kusuma Gunawardena was the first president of the Sri Lanka China Friendship Association, which was then known as the Ceylon Chinese Friendship Association. The Chinese ambassador further mentioned that while China is grateful for that, they should also be grateful to Mrs. Kusuma Gunawardena for giving birth to Mr. Dinesh Gunawardena, who always maintained a very close friendship with China.

Mr. Ananda Gunathilaka, the current president of the Association, described the history of the Sri Lanka China Friendship Association and said that this association was established in the home of a member with the participation of a small group of people and became stronger after the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1955.

When the association was established, Mr. Philip Gunawardena was unseated from parliament by the colonial rulers and Mrs. Kusuma Gunawardena, who was elected uncontested represented him in the Avissawella seat, took over the position and turned this association into the strongest left-wing political institution dedicated to friendship with China. He further mentioned that  this will be an opportunity to remember the pioneer members of the Association Mrs Theja Gunawardena, then leaders of the Communist party, Mr  Sugiswara A Wickramasinghe  and Peter Kenneman.

State  Minister Geetha Kumarasinghe, Members of Parliament Yadamini Gunawardena, Rajika Wickramasinghe, former Deputy Speaker Geetanjana Gunawardena, Secretary to the Prime Minister Anura Dissanayaka, senior representatives of the Chinese Embassy and members of Sri Lanka China Friendship Association participated in this event.

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