Discord Between Ni-Vanuatu, Chinese Worries Researcher

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Locals concerned Chinese will take over everything: Trevor Banga

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 30, 2013) – A Vanuatu researcher says there are fears discord between ni-Vanuatu and new Chinese immigrants could lead to riots, heightened discrimination, and racism.

Trevor Banga has been conducting research into the relationship between Chinese immigrants and ni-Vanuatu people for the Port Vila-based think tank, Pacific Institute of Public Policy.

He spoke with Beverley Tse about the impact the Chinese are having on the indigenous population.

TREVOR BANGA: They are business-minded people. So that’s why when they come here they don’t really adapt to culture because I think it’s the way they’re used to before or [what] they inherited before they came here. They came here not to waste time, they came here to do business and earn money.

BEVERLEY TSE: Is there resentment from ni-Vanuatu against the Chinese because the Chinese can outsmart them in terms of doing business?

TB: Yes. The local ni-Vanuatu, they do feel the Chinese might take over everything. ’Cause, nowadays, you can look at the development in Port Vila now, it’s all Chinese. They build a lot, they have new shops built overnight. The next day you can see a new shop built and everything, so that’s why most of the locals... I have interviewed the locals, too, and they do have concerns that the Chinese may take over everything. And since they compete with the Chinese, they don’t get so much because Chinese they produce a lot and they do a lot. So they do have concerns that the Chinese may take hold over everything in Vanuatu.

BT: Have there been any efforts to train the ni-Vanuatu on how to do business better?

TB: From my understanding, yes. There are some workshops that have been run to do business. There are a lot of business firms here do business workshops and train a lot of ni-Van drop-out school leavers to do business, and even private organisations doing business training, training locals to do their business and all of this in Vanuatu.

BT: What’s attracting new Chinese people to Vanuatu?

TB: Some of my good friends, Chinese good friends, that I talk to really much, they say they have to move out from China to do business to make money. [Some] say ’We need to do more money, so we think Vanuatu is the best place to make money’.

BT: Where do you see Vanuatu in 10 years’ time? What do you think it will look like in terms of the type of people that will be here and who runs the businesses?

TB: In 10 years time’ if we do allow more Chinese to be here there’ll be a lot of development here, but then there’ll be a lot of riots and a lot of criticism and a lot of racism and discrimination in 10 years’ time if we keep on allowing Chinese to come here. Since 62% to 70% of locals in here they don’t really agree with the Chinese doing development here.

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