Wednesday, April 19, 2006

P'ai Wah in Solomon Islands

P’ai wah! The age-old Chinese warning of anti-Chinese pogrom! It rang out today in Honiara, capital of Solomon Islands.

Rioting broke out in Honiara with Chinatown being touched by mob. A 2000-strong mob had marched on to Government House and threatened to tear up the rest of the capital unless the country's new Prime Minister, Snyder Rini, steps down. Protesters claimed his coalition Government was funded and influenced by Chinese money. Rini denied that.

Ofani Eremai, editor of the Solomons Star newspaper, said there has been a build up of anti-Asian [Chinese] sentiment in the country over the past few months. He said:

"Admittedly, after the newly-elected Prime Minister was announced yesterday, you could hear from the crowds shouting that this election result has been ... they were claiming that the results were controlled, were influenced by Chinese influence."

Australia troops are being flown in while New Zealand has offered to send some police personnel.

A dusk-to-dawn curfew has been declared in Solomon Islands as authorities try to quell riots that have left sections of the capital Honiara burnt out.

Good old Chinese – the usual whipping boys for government failures in SE Asia. Where would those (former or current) governments be without some convenient Chinamen to redirect the people’s anger from them.

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