SUVA, Fiji — Cutting against the grain of the common international sentiment, the Fiji’s interim government has thrown its support behind the Chinese government in their recent handling of the riots in the Tibetan city of Lhasa.
The Permanent secretary to the interim Prime Minster, Parmesh Chand, confirmed that the interim Prime Minister had written to the Chinese government to officially express his support. According to Chand, the PM Bainimarama praised the Chinese government for abiding by the rule of law and stressed that he understood that the situation in Tibet was an internal matter for China to deal with. Chand also said that it is not uncommon for world leaders to pass along notes like this.
Concern has grown, particularly in New Zealand and Australia, regarding Fiji’s increased dependence on China. Since the 2006, Fiji’s relations with Australia and New Zealand have been strained and an increasing amount of Fijian aid is coming from China. New Zealand Green MP Keith Locke has publically expressed his fears of what a fusion of these alliances and his perception of Fiji’s lack of respect for democracy could mean for the future. “It’s bad enough that Mr Bainimarama has trampled on democracy in Fiji, without supporting the Beijing’s suppression of Tibetan rights,” he said. He also called upont the New Zealand government to condemn the Fijian statement.
For more information, please see:
News Talk ZB — Concern at ties between China and Fiji — 25 March 2008
The Sydney Morning Herald — China applauded for Tibet crackdown — 25 March 2008
Scoop — NZ Govt caught over Bainimarama support for China — 25 March 2008
Radio New Zealand — Fiji supports the Chinese government’s handling of fatal riots in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet — 25 March 2008
Radio New Zealand International — Fiji indicates support for Chinese government’s action in addressing deadly riot in Tibet — 24 March 2008