Thursday, March 27, 2008

China wins State's silence: Activist

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 -

Update: 3:02PM YOUTH activist Peter Waqavonovono has expressed concern at the close links that the interim Government is forging with the Peoples Republic of China.

He said it was a known fact that China was a donor to Pacific Island countries and had given a considerable amount of aid to Fiji.

"I feel that China has won Fiji's interim Government's silence on important issues that need to be addressed, like human rights and the treatment of activists," said Mr Waqavonovono.

He said the actions taken by China in suppressing separatist movements and activists in Tibet brought attention back to the way China handled human rights.

Mr Waqavonovono said since Fiji was a development partner and close friend of China, it should use its position as a leader in the region to play a proactive role in the way China treated its citizens.

He said the interim Governments statement that it supported Chinas treatment of activists and protestors showed that Fijis silence had been bought.

Mr Waqavonovono said he would be organising protests next month to call for Chinas
changes to its public policies, human rights and a referendum on the independence of Tibet.

China loan still being discussed: Jinbiao
26 MAR

The Fiji Government’s proposal to access loans offered by the Chinese government in 2006 is still being discussed with China’s Exim Bank, says China’s ambassador to Fiji Cai Jinbiao.

Jinbiao told Fijilive that these funds were to be utilised for various feasible projects proposed by the Fiji Government.

He confirms that proposals had been forwarded to the Chinese government and the Exim Bank on the projects Fiji intended to have funded through this concessional loan.

During his visit to the Pacific in 2006, the Chinese premier Wen Jiabao offered on behalf of the Chinese government Yen$3 billion for loan by the island countries.

“As a result, the (Fiji) government made some proposals for the Chinese side to consider that can be used on roads, upgrading water supply and low-cost housing,” Jinbiao said.

“The two sides are in the process of engaging in discussions on how to go ahead with some of the projects.”

Jinbiao said there were also Chinese companies interested to partner with Fiji in some of the projects “and they have come here (Fiji) to have a look”.

“The Fijian government made a proposal to apply the use of the funds to some road upgrading projects. The Y$3 billion is for every country and it’s a first come first serve. The request has to be reasonable and feasible,” he said.

Jinbiao referred questions to the Exim Bank on the requirements Fiji needed to comply with to access funding under the said provision.

He said there were certain projects already funded under this concessional loan, including the construction of the Navuso Bridge in Nausori.

Meanwhile, Australia’s foreign minister Stephen Smith has expressed concern about China’s $F170 million loan to Fiji for the development of new roads.

Tibet unrest: China welcomes Fiji support
25 MAR 2008 -

The Chinese Government has said that the support from the Fiji Government in condemning the riots in Lhasa, the capital of China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, has no direct link to the aid it provides to Fiji.

China’s Ambassador to Fiji, Cai Jinbiao said today that Fiji did not support China’s action again the rioters because of the aid provided by China.

“The Fiji Government said that they fully understand and know what is behind the riots on Lhasa and they recognise that Tibet is part of Chinese territory and it’s an internal affair for China to handle the disturbance in Lhasa.

“So the Fijian Government is against the idea of linking what happened in Lhasa to the Olympic Games in Beijing.

“As you know that some quarters of the world are under China and they want to boycott the Olympics so the Fijian Government’s position is that it does not support any boycott,” Jinbiao said.
He also raised his concern on how the international media has depicted the incident in Lhasa calling it a very ‘distorted and inaccurate’ way of reporting.

“The media has been very negative in the way they have reported on the incident in Tibet and have failed to report what really happened.”

Jinbiao also blamed Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama for the unrest and calling him a political exile in religious cloak.

Meanwhile, permanent secretary in the Fiji Prime Minister’s Office Parmesh Chand confirmed to Fijilive that a letter of support had been forwarded to the Chinese government expressing Fiji’s stand on the riot that ravaged the city on March 14.

Riots broke out in Lhasa on the day resulting in beating, smashing, looting and arson that killed 18 civilians and injured 382.

Chand said the support was accorded for China’s actions under the rule of law.

“It is normal for any country to share notes with other countries in situations like this,” Chand said.

“And Fiji also believes that this is an internal matter for the Chinese government to deal with.

The Fiji Prime Minister said in his letter that it was necessary for China to take proper measures to safeguard national peace and stability.

He told the media in New Zealand that it would be a concern if Chinese money in the Pacific starts to influence foreign policy.

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