Your thoughts on China’s aid
According to the Lowy Institute, China has provided A$1.8 billion in aid and loans for the South Pacific nations between 2006 and 2016.The main recipients were Papua New Guinea, which received A$632 million, Fiji (A$360 million), Vanuatu (A$244 million) and Samoa (A$230 million). Last week, Ms. Fierravanti-Wells launched an unprovoked scathing attack on China’s aid to the Pacific countries – including Samoa. She accused the Chinese of building “roads to nowhere” and constructing “useless buildings” which will only leave Pacific countries with debts they cannot pay. What do you think of China’s aid to Samoa? We asked members of the public in today’s Street Talk and this is what they said:
Ioane Isa’ako, 72 Samatau
For a country like China, they will always have something for them behind such aid. My concern is that we gained independence in the first place because we know we can take care of our own country. China is a big country and their economy is good, they are helping countries like us in terms of aid, and behind that, there will always be something that they are after. I must say that I don’t support us accepting China aid because I know for sure that this money are not gifted to us, it means that we have to pay them back. If our current government doesn’t do anything about it, I’m sure in the near future, our children will suffer trying to repay these loans back to the Chinese government, or China will take over our small country in no time.
Tu’ugamusu Ete Fuimaono, 54 Vaitele fou/Nu’usuatia
There is good and bad of the Chinese aid. The good thing is that without the aid, we will still be using the old hospital and the old airport. But thanks to China, we got us these infrastructures. And the sad part is that there is always something that our country is doing for China as well. Things like this are always about “you scratch my back and I will scratch yours as well”, so to me, that is one of the sad realities about these kinds of agreements. Another sad scene is if the Samoan Government fails to repay the money, our country will be taken over by the Chinese people as we can see with the number of Chinese coming into Samoa today.
Moana Fidow, 21 Falelauniu
I think we have to be very careful about accepting aid from these countries. My opinion is based on the fact that our ancestors fought for our country to gain independence so we could be free from depending on other countries in terms of assistance. This is not looking well for our country because for sure our government doesn’t have money to pay back what we owe to China. And to me, I think this is one of the reasons we have seen so many Chinese people coming to Samoa to establish their businesses.
Manuia Savili, 45 Fasitoo’o Tai
We have seen so many Chinese funded projects in Apia. To me, I am grateful for what China has done for Samoa, but then I don’t think that we should be accepting these proposals and aid because at the end of the day, we will have to repay China. I don’t think China would want to build this and that in Samoa and don’t expect anything back, which would be ridiculous and stupid of them. That is why I don’t support such assistance because I know at the end of the day, we will be repaying China. The only problem right now is that if we can’t repay China, then we will likely be colonized by China and then it’ll be like when Samoa was colonized by Germany and New Zealand.
Sam Samuelu, 23 Fasito’o Tai
Nothing comes for free. I am grateful for the help but we’ve got to be careful. So my view is that I don’t think our government knows we have to repay China because they still begged China for more help and more money to assist our small country. The only thing that worries me right now is that when China asks us to repay these amounts, and we still don’t have the money, then I think China will take over Samoa.