(AFP)- Sri Lanka has complained to Beijing over Chinese-made doormats featuring the island’s national lion flag being sold through online retail giant Amazon, officials said Friday.
Sri Lanka is highly sensitive to what it sees as any misuse of its national flag as well as Buddhist symbols.
The Sri Lankan foreign ministry said it had taken up the issue with the Chinese embassy in Colombo, and also asked Colombo’s mission in Beijing to track down the manufacturer.
The ministry has also instructed the Sri Lankan embassy in Washington to “follow up on the matter” with Amazon.
Several Chinese vendors on Amazon were offering the non-slip doormat with Sri Lanka’s flag on it at prices ranging from $10 to $24.
“This is how the Chinese see Sri Lanka,” said one Facebook user.
Another suggested the doormat was a forewarning of how future relations might play out in light of Sri Lanka’s huge debt to China: “May be it’s the sign (of how) they gonna treat us when we fail to pay their loans.”
“If we are unable to pay our debts, they will print our flag on toilet paper for sure,” wrote another on Facebook.
In 2010, Sri Lanka prevented US rap star Akon from visiting the country over one of his music videos, which featured scantily clad women dancing in front of a Buddha statue.
In 2002, Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court ordered police and customs to seize CDs of Buddha Bar lounge music.
Two years ago, a Muslim woman was arrested for wearing a dress with prints of a ship’s steering wheel, which police mistook for Dharma Chakra, a Buddhist symbol.