Sri Lankan court: China-built port board needs public assent

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s top court says parts of the legislation to set up a powerful economic commission in a Chinese-built port city violate the constitution and require approval by public referendum to become law. There are fears the project that’s part of China’s sweeping Belt and Road initiative could become a virtual Chinese outpost or colony. Sri Lanka’s government sees it as an economic lifeline. The Supreme Court said a provision for the economic commission to set and enforce rules within the port city could undermine the lawmaking powers of Parliament. It also found problems with the legislation exempting companies operating in the port city from certain laws related to taxes and other business areas.

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