Asian-owned shops in Papua New Guinea being targeted

May 29th, 2009 - 5:10 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, May 29 (ANI): Shops owned by Asians in Papua New Guinea are likely to be burnt down as racial tensions escalate in that country.

According to The Australian, the warning came as the Malaysian logging company Rimbunan Hijau accused the media of fuelling anti-Asian sentiment, and the Malaysian and Chinese consulates in Port Moresby issued safety warnings to their nationals.

Four people have been killed since rioting began this month with a fight between Chinese and Papua New Guinea workers at the Ramu nickel refinery, which is owned by Chinese company Metallurgical Construction Corporation.

Rioting and looting have spread to Port Moresby and major provincial centres, with Asian-owned stores the main target.

An email by leading anti-Asian activist Cardo Stanzo has been circulated widely across the country.

The email calls on activists to be prepared to burn all Asian-owned businesses if Asians refuse to leave the country by the end of the year.

Stanzo says in the email that government corruption and the sale of resources cheaply to Asian companies were the reasons for the anti-Asian sentiment sweeping the country.

The email said Asians were depriving Papua New Guineans of a significant income source by operating the bulk of small shops in the country.

The Papua New Guinea parliament has formed a committee with MPs from all parties to investigate the rioting.

An unemployment rate of up to 80 per cent has been identified as the cause for much of the unrest. (ANI)

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