China to offer Solomon Islands anti-riot gear, send police advisory team
Published: Dec 23, 2021 09:15 PM
A Red Cross vehicle passes through the Chinatown district of Honiara, the Solomon Islands, on November 26, 2021.Photo: VCG

A Red Cross vehicle passes through the Chinatown district of Honiara, the Solomon Islands, on November 26, 2021.Photo: VCG

China will offer police anti-riot equipment and send an ad-hoc police advisory group to the Solomon Islands at the request of the Solomon Islands government, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday.

Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that the supplies and personnel will arrive soon and play a constructive role in enhancing local police's capability, given the severe anti-government turmoil in the capital city of the Solomon Islands in late November.

"China stands firmly in support of the government of the Solomon Islands to sustain domestic stability, in safeguarding China-Solomon relations and in protecting the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese people there. China strongly condemns any illegal or violent acts," noted Zhao.

A local Chinese merchant surnamed Lin, whose family has been running a business in the country for two generations, told the Global Times on Thursday the situation there has cooled down in recent days, with foreign troops patrolling the areas and giving anti-riot training to the police force.

Businesses run by Chinese nationals have also resumed, but the losses were incredibly large, as many of their lifetime savings were burned down, Lin noted.

A chartered flight later this month will take Chinese nationals back to China, and the elderly will be given priority, another Chinese merchant in Solomon Islands, surnamed Wang, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Wang said she was told that the local government will provide compensation, but have yet to receive it. 

Lin added that local Chinese enterprises, organizations and churches are offering material assistance to the affected merchants.

The turmoil started on November 24 in the center of the capital city and soon impacted Chinatown and the Chinese community in the city.

Chinese merchants and shops suffered severe economic losses and hundreds of Chinese nationals became homeless due to the severe riots in the capital Honiara.

Many protesters reportedly came from the country's most populous island Malaita. The discontent between Malaita and the Solomon Islands government has existed for a long time due to the unequal distribution of resources, and some Malaita politicians were against the government.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the Solomon Islands and China after the former cut ties with the island of Taiwan in September, 2019, the US has greatly increased its economic assistance to Malaita, up to five times the amount of assistance to the Solomon Islands government, observers said.