China has quickly increased its influence in the South Pacific region in recent years. Compared to other South Pacific island nations, the connection between China and the Solomon Islands is at the forefront. Two VOA reporters recently visited to learn more about China’s presence and influence in the Solomon Islands.
Liu Ze is the Secretary-General of the Solomon Islands Chinese Chamber of Commerce. He told the VOA reporter that the Chinese population could be traced back one hundred years to when English colonists put food on the island. Some Chinese from Jiangmen, Guangdong, followed a British company to the island as cooks or carpenters.
There was also a wave of Chinese immigration here about 10 to 20 years ago. They primarily live in the capital area, but there’s also a significant number of Chinese-owned businesses in Malaita province, the Solomon Islands’ most populous province.
But the presence of the Chinese came when Beijing and Solomons Island officially established diplomatic ties in 2019.
After this turning point period, many of China’s large state-owned enterprises like China Civil Engineering and Construction (CCECC), China Railway (CRCC), and China Harbour (CHEC) and their employees came here. They have been staying mainly in Honiara, the country’s capital.
Michelle Lam is a native Chinese in the Solomon Islands. Her family moved here from Hong Kong at an early age.