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Daniel Suidani, the former premier of the Solomon Islands’ Malaita Province, became a hero among China watchers after he challenged Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence operations in the region, refused a bribe, and barred CCP-linked companies from operating in his province.
The punishment came swiftly. He was ousted from his position, and when he fell ill and needed brain surgery, he was denied access to care—until Taiwan finally came to his rescue.
I had the rare opportunity of sitting down with Suidani and his adviser Celsus Talifilu when they were on a trip to the United States.
The story of Suidani and the Solomon Islands is a window into the Chinese regime’s tactics across the Pacific, and even here in North America, as it expands its influence, bribes the powerful, and co-opts strategic resources.
In 2019, the Solomon Islands, which had long recognized Taiwan as the true seat of the Chinese government, switched this formal recognition to the People’s Republic of China.
Recently, Parliament voted to delay elections to accommodate a big event funded by China, the Pacific Games. There’s evidence that suggests the Parliament members who supported the change received about 200,000 SBD per person (about US$24,000), from a CCP-linked slush fund.
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