HONIARA 1 (ABC) — Hundreds of Chinese residents in the Solomon Islands have been left homeless by riots in recent weeks that torched Chinatown in the capital Honiara, and some are now looking to leave the country entirely.
China’s embassy in the Solomon Islands condemned the torching of dozens of Chinese-owned businesses during anti-government protests that turned violent late last month.
“Hundreds of Chinese families including elders, kids and women were driven homeless and displaced in distress. There is no any excuse to justify the blatant damage to properties and lives,” it said in a statement.
The Solomon Islands Red Cross organised a market over the weekend to hand out food to people affected by the riots, including the Chinese community.
“There were some of them who just came to get the food and they were not prepared to talk to us yet. So it shows and some of them when they were asked they are still traumatised,” said the organisation’s General Secretary, Clement Manuari.
Manuari added that many of the Chinese families displaced by the riots are staying with friends but they will need more permanent solutions from the government.
The Chinese Embassy said it was helping homeless families in Honiara and delivery of supplies would arrive soon.
It also thanked Solomon Island locals who risked their lives to save people from burning buildings in Chinatown, donated food and clothes and offered shelter.
The Chair of the Solomon Islands Chinese Association, Henry Kwan, said many in the Chinese community just want to get out of the Solomon Islands as soon as they can.
The events in Honiara have also raised concern for Chinese communities in other parts of the Pacific.
Citing the riots, China’s embassy in Fiji is urging Chinese citizens to register their details by the end of the week in case of future emergencies.
China’s embassy in Honiara didn’t respond to the ABC’s questions about what support it was offering the Chinese community or whether it was considering evacuation flights…. PACNEWS