11 Jun 2002

Fiji Prime Minister warned about praising China

2:31 pm on 11 June 2002

In Fiji, the Citizens Constitutional Forum has warned the Qarase Government to tread carefully in dealing with China and Japan.

The warning follows the Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's lavish praise for China during his recent visit there.

Mr Qarase commended China for not criticising the Fiji coup and not imposing sanctions to press for the return of constitutional rule as New Zealand, Australia, Britain, the United States and the European Union did.

The executive director of the CCF, the Rev Akuila Yabaki, says Amnesty International's current report on China has recorded serious human rights violations.

The Rev Yabaki sas thousands of people remain in prison across China for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association or belief.

He says by praising a country with such a massive escalation in state-sponsored death sentences and executions, one could be guilty of condoning evil.

The Rev Yabaki has also questioned the value of globe trotting ministers' visits abroad.

He is asking whether these visits help to alleviate poverty and hunger, eliminate racial injustice in the country, or promote constitutional democracy in the cause of peace and justice.