8 Apr 2011

Samoa's Prime Minister says anti-Chinese sentiment is racist

7:40 am on 8 April 2011

The Samoan Prime Minister has dismissed criticism of Chinese business operators in the country as racist and discriminatory.

Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi's comments come as the government has stopped three Chinese citizens from doing business in the country.

Moera Tuilaepa Taylor reports

"The Prime Minister says the Chinese citizens have been stopped from doing business because they must first obtain licenses like other foreign business owners. Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi says the three were issued with work permits and not business licenses. But Tuila'epa has dismissed negative reports and public feeling that many Chinese people are doing business in Samoa. He says there are many other foreigners operating in the country but it seems the Chinese are the targets of criticism. The prime minister has described the negativity of people as racist and discriminatory against Chinese people. He's also rejected suggestions that past violence attacks against Chinese business people in Tonga and the Solomon Islands could happen in his country."