The second day of his two days in Fiji yesterday“the press conference itself was organized by the visiting government [and] the press passes were issued by the Chinese government,” said the Fijian journalist Lice Movono Told The Guardian.
Movono and his cameraman, and a team from the Australian television channel ABCwere prevented from filming a meeting between Wang and the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum shortly after Wang arrived in Fiji the day beforeeven though they were all accredited.
During Wang’s first stopover in the Solomon Islands on May 26, Covid restrictions were cited as the reason for allowing only a limited number of media to attend the press conference and only two questions were allowed – one to the Foreign Minister of the Solomon Islands by a local journalist and one to Wang by a Chinese media. No media interaction was allowed during his next two stops in Kiribati and Samoa.
Resist Chinese pressure
“The total opacity surrounding the events organized by the Chinese delegation with several Pacific island states clearly contravenes the democratic principles of the countries of the region, denounces Daniel Bastard, head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “We call on officials preparing to meet Wang Yi to resist Chinese pressure by allowing local journalists and international organizations to cover these events, which are of major public interest.”
After the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa and Fiji, Wang is due to travel to Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste with the same aim of signing free trade and security agreements.
RSF had previously denounced the discrimination of the Chinese delegation towards local and international media during the Asia-Pacific economic cooperation summit held in November 2018 in Papua New Guinea, in the presence of President Xi Jinping.