China hoped Fiji would be a template for the Pacific. Its plan backfired.

A Chinese fishing vessel at Suva port in Fiji. In 2011, Beijing established an extensive security partnership with Fiji, hoping to replicate it across the Pacific.

By Michael E. Miller and Matthew Abbott, for the Washington Post

SUVA, Fiji — When four Chinese detectives breezed into police headquarters here in the middle of 2017, it quickly became apparent they weren’t in Fiji’s capital merely to help with an inquiry. Instead, the officers planned to carry out the investigation — into Chinese nationals suspected of running internet scams from the South Pacific island — pretty much as if they were back in China. “Everything was done by them,” said a former Fijian police officer who was in the Suva headquarters at the time, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly. “Fiji police was only there to assist in the arrest, nothing else. All the statements, recordings and the uplifting of all exhibits was done by the Chinese.” The case was a harbinger of China’s ambitions in the wider Pacific as well as its willingness to conduct investigations and project its police powers overseas, sometimes with little regard for local authorities. But the case also became a catalyst for Fiji to stand up to Beijing and assert its sovereignty.

Weeks after the initial four landed in Fiji, scores more Chinese police officers arrived on the island, and 77 suspects, many of them young women, were marched in handcuffs and hoods across the tarmac at a local airport before being flown to China. None was given an extradition hearing. There was no proper documentation, no Interpol involvement, the former Fijian officer said. “They just came in and did what they wanted,” added another, more senior former officer.

China’s domineering role in the investigation, followed by arrests that human rights activists and Fijian opposition leaders likened to a mass kidnapping, was the culmination of Beijing’s most extensive security partnership in the Pacific, one based on a secretive memorandum of understanding on police cooperation between Beijing and the government of then-Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.

It was also a moment that began to sour some Fijians on the growing activities of Chinese officials in Fiji, an example of how Beijing can overreach as it attempts to build its global influence. “We didn’t even know there was an agreement,” Aman Ravindra-Singh, a lawyer who was one of the few public figures in Fiji to speak out against the arrests at the time, said of the memorandum. “The next thing we knew, there were knocks on people’s doors in [the city of] Nadi and there were Chinese people in full uniform arresting people. It was unheard of. It’s almost like we were invaded.”

Comment: This is just one example of Chinese overreach in their security relationship with Fiji. This Washington Post article gives several other examples. What is especially surprising is that China has set up similar extensions of Chinese police power in Canada, the US and most likely other countries. Their African presence probably has similar arrangements with the host countries. The policy is ingenious in that it focuses on the police forces in many countries that may not have strong militaries. It capitalizes on one of China’s greatest strengths… being a police state.

The conduct of the Chinese in Fiji became so overbearing that when Sitiveni Rabuka, Fiji’s new Prime Minister took office last December, his first action was to rescind the MOU that allowed China to practically control Fiji’s police forces. We’ll have to see if Chinese overreach sours the Solomon Islanders on a similar security agreement. As a minimum, we should be shutting down these unofficial Chinese police stations in the US and Canada. Those offices should be raided immediately and the Chinese nationals put on the first plane back to Beijing.


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18 Responses to China hoped Fiji would be a template for the Pacific. Its plan backfired.

  1. F&L says:

    Population Fiji (2018) : 980,000

    Population Hawaii (2020) : 1,442,000

    What could go wrong?

  2. babelthuap says:

    It would probably make a fine comedy on the level of Beverly Hills Cop where Eddie Murphy was working outside of his jurisdiction but with a CCP cop from Wuhan in Beijing. Unfortunately it is not a comedy. Frightening stuff. They are disregarding laws of entire countries.

    • Whitewall says:

      Kind of reminds me of ourselves-USA. China a police state, of course. But us, politicized and weaponized law enforcement, a business/government backed censorship operation(s), surveillance of reporters, televised dawn arrests of citizens. We are supposed to be a liberal democracy. Today we seem to be a Republic under attack by an illiberal democracy with the press cheering it on. We can’t go on this way.

  3. Fred says:

    Chinese nationals in Fiji (see population figures fromF&L above) doing what for a living? Oh, ripping off Chinese nationals back home via internet based fraud, get arrested by Chinese police. Local government officials, NONE receiving 10% for the big guy payments, Shocked to discover these people arrested – weeks after the initial 4 police arrived – and “extradited” without consulting local lawyers or Interpol. So says “anonymous” former police officer. Verified by another anonymous “more senior ” former police officer. Oh my! And then the arrests of Human Rights Activists! Oh no!

    And this started in 2011, five years after Bainimarama came to power, when, checking my ancient history file, Barack and Biden were leading Amercia. No idea who was running Australia or what our foreign policy was relating to Fiji had been since WW2.

    Does the BezosPost have a in similar story in depth about those Chinese police stations in NYC and American outrage? Are there any improper connections between the Chinese government and American politicians? One wonders.

    • TTG says:


      I don’t know if the WaPo ever covered the Chinese police stations in Canada, but a host of other Western news outlets sure have. The FBI has started investigating and arresting Chinese nationals involved in these actions in the US. So this stuff is finally being taken seriously.

    • F&L says:

      I Gargled with: “Al Gore & Chinese Laundry” mouthwash and found:
      The Temple of Doom.
      It scared me. I was expecting secret messages hidden in the lapel slits of DC movers and shakers, and expensive designer dress-shirts steam-ironed to perfection.
      This is irrelevant, I guess, but maybe not. I picked a paragraph out of the text several scrolls down the page and pasted it below the link. Maybe Nancy’s husband won’t tie one on and go with the snap ons.

      Hashtags #the-vice-president-handles-graft, #the-buck-stops-here
      #I-am-joe-biden-a-man-you-can-trust, #tricky-dicky-congressman-from-CA

      The Chinese connection. In September 1993, Hsia and Huang sent $60,000 in laundered and foreign money to the DNC. The next day, Gore’s Chief of Staff Jack Quinn met at their behest with Shen Jueren, the head of China Resources, a company that has been linked to Chinese intelligence. Thompson’s committee report describes Hsia as “an agent of the Chinese government” and Huang as having had “a direct financial relationship with the Chinese government.” Thompson’s committee also fingers Ted Sioeng, an Indonesian-born businessman who contributed $400,000 to the DNC between 1995 and 1996 and who sat at the head table with Gore at the Buddhist temple luncheon, as a Chinese agent. Based on these connections, some Republicans are speculating that Gore and Clinton were involved in a secret deal with the People’s Republic of China that went something like this: In exchange for campaign contributions from Hsia, Huang, and Sioeng, they agreed to meet with prominent PRC officials and to make various concessions to Chinese policy. One Republican Senate staffer told me that in order to make this case, the Bush campaign and the Republican Party will begin airing the photo of Gore sitting with Sioeng and Hsia at the temple luncheon. (See link 4 more)

      • Fred says:


        The Winter Soldier who lost to Hanging Chad sure made out after leaving office.

        • F&L says:

          From “al-ghul” in Arabic. Became “ghoul” according to some philologists. Too bad Col Lang isn’t around.

          If you ever read that book “The Russia Hand” by Strobe Talbott, maybe you agree with my memory that Al Gore really came off as a windbag who wasn’t qualified at all to be President at all. If you read it really carefully, with my very suspicious disposition, it even became apparent that Clintin didn’t want him to be elected either and even that the Russians were sort of in on the deal.

          variable star (Beta Persei) in the constellation Perseus, late 14c., literally “the Demon,” from Arabic al-ghul “the demon” (see ghoul). It corresponds, in modern representations of the constellation, to the gorgon’s head Perseus holds, but probably it was so called because it visibly varies in brightness every three days, which sets it apart from other bright stars.

      • Bill Hatch says:

        I remember seeing a news video shot when Gore was VP. Gore was a guest speaker at a luncheon & the guests were going thru the receiving line. As a Chinese guest approached Gore he reached in his jacket pocket & pulled out an envelope that he tried to put in Gore’s hand. He was quickly grabbed & escorted behind a screen & told later & not in public. The video only appeared on the news once.

  4. F&L says:

    From the posts pasted below and the photos at the links of the woman who was the flight attendant (stewardess) you can tell just how heroic some Russians think their fearless leader is and how beloved he is to them. A photo of her last meal. Maybe a sociological service will conduct one of those polls which over 80% refuse to participate in. The results will be analysed by electron microscopes anyway – “look an atom of truth.”
    A source of the Cheka-OGPU reports that the stewardess of the crashed plane is the sister of the deputy prosecutor of one of the cities of the Chelyabinsk region. He explained that Kristina Raspopova (pictured in the same jet that was blown up today) flew to Moscow a couple of days ago, where she was waiting for a flight to St. Petersburg. Yesterday, on Wednesday, they called up and the woman said that the team was waiting for an important call, they say, to fly “today or tomorrow.” In addition, according to the flight attendant, the plane was being repaired before departure.

  5. F&L says:

    Is the timing of this report of “extremely rare” violence in the NY City Chinese community a coincidence? I quote a community elder interviewed in the 2 minute video.

    Was it pushback by US actors or Chinese actors who meant to say “maybe flushing out the Chinese police from your country isn’t such a bright idea?”

    Or am I listening to the sermons of Pere Annoyed too devoutly?

    Man charged in “horrific” hammer attack in Brooklyn.

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