Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 03:07 | SYDNEY
Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 03:07 | SYDNEY

Chinese aid 'very transparent'


Fergus Hanson


29 May 2008 08:44

The latest riposte (see here for the earlier one) to an op-ed I wrote on China’s aid to Fiji has come from the Chinese Embassy (to be completely accurate the response is directed at the South Asian Post who re-reported the op-ed). Talking to Fijilive, Director of Political Affairs at the Chinese Embassy, Lihua Hu said ‘There are no new aid programmes to Fiji neither am I aware of any talks for increased funding’.

I haven't seen the full interview, but the response still seems like careful wording. No new programs? Does that mean the already planned, very large increase in aid to Fiji will still go ahead? And as for not increasing aid: pledges were over $US 160 million in 2007, which gives China a substantial amount of wriggle room.

Mr Hu went on to state ‘we are very transparent with these aid programmes'. Unfortunately, despite this transparency, the Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office in Fiji, Parmesh Chand, has been unable to confirm aid levels. From the summary of Mr Hu’s statement, it would appear China is in the same position.

Sorry, but the interim government in Fiji and the Chinese government still have work to do when it comes to aid transparency. Instead of playing with semantics, if they are serious about contesting these estimates then they should just publish the figures. After all, if they were completely transparent then we wouldn't need to be having this discussion in the first place.