CHINESE BUSINESSES ARE FLOURISHING in all parts of Papua New Guinea and are gradually encroaching upon Bougainville.
The Chinese population and their businesses are increasing. Many Chinese are illegal immigrants and, every year, they come and go as though Papua New Guinea is their home.
The government gives them a visa for a six-pack of beer and citizenship for living here only three years. In my view, these Chinese businesses should be removed from the country for they sell low quality goods, pay low wages to locals, operate filthy shops and send money out of the country.
Let me expand upon each of these points in turn.
First, these Chinese shops sell low quality goods. Their prices are very tempting to the general public and it satisfies the demand of the people. However at the end, those goods last for a day or so and are a waste.
If you want to return them to the shop, the Chinese man will show you a big notice hanging on the side draped in cobwebs saying ‘Choose Carefully! No Refund’. They stick up notices like that for they know their goods do not last long since they were exported as waste from China.
Last week a friend of mine bought a nice looking phone for about K100 at a Chinese shop. It lasted for three days when the speaker stopped working properly. So he went to the shop to get a refund and told the shop assistant, a local girl, what was wrong with the phone.
Whilst they were talking, this Chinese man saw them and asked what was happening. The girl told him. The Chinese man showed him the notice and sent him away threatening them to call the police.
Just one example of what has been happening to the general public.
Secondly, Chinese businesses in PNG and Bougainville pay low wages to their employees. In non-Chinese shops, shop assistants dress well whereas the Chinese employees dress as if they are going to work in the garden. They are only teenagers, mostly girls.
“We are not paid the normal rate others are paid,” a shop assistant said. “We work because we have no place to get money.”
She continued that if they complain about wages, the boss will tell them, ‘I don’t need you. I can get Chinese men to work.’
This is a serious issue that part of the country’s workforce is facing. It is causing more Chinese to illegally migrate into PNG to work for such businesses.
Our government should do something about these young people for many of these Chinese store owners do not care about their employees. They should be removed from the region.
Thirdly, the shops are filthy and dusty. Throughout all the towns of Papua New Guinea where Chinese shops are, you will recognize them before you enter because even the walls outside are filthy and decaying.
Inside the shop, the goods are decorated with dust and cobwebs. It is like coming into a house which has been deserted for many years. Even new stock looks as if it is from last year. You always need to check the expiry date of food before buying.
But the public just buys stuff as it’s not expensive.
My last big argument with Chinese businesses is the sending of the money back to China. Our country needs money to circulate so it boosts the economy.
These Chinese businessmen stand at the counter and wait for the money. When a money bag is full, the boss will take it away into his small room and then come back to the counter to wait for another.
But where does it go? A friend who worked at the Bank of the South Pacific in Madang told me, “You will hardly see any Chinese person depositing money in the bank”.
Chinese businesses have been flourishing throughout Papua New Guinea serving the majority of the citizens of the country and are gradually moving towards Bougainville. They should be removed from Bougainville and even PNG.