Pacific Media Watch

9 April 2019

FIJI: Approval 'revoked' for Chinese resort development on Malolo Island

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Malolo reef damage in Fiji ... target of prosecution of Fiji government, say local media reports. Image: FBC News

AUCKLAND (RNZ Pacific/Asia Pacific Report/Pacific Media Watch): Fiji has reportedly revoked the approval of a Chinese resort project on Malolo Island.

The developer Freesoul Real Estate had begun building a 350-bure resort without the required permits, causing substantial environmental damage.

Aspects of the project were to be challenged in court this week but the website Newsroom reported that the Department of the Environment had now revoked the developer’s Environment Impact Assessment approval.

The lawyer for two Malolo landowners said he doubted Freesoul had the means to restore the once pristine land to its original state as it would cost millions.

The tourism development had been promoted as part of the Chinese government’s Belt and Road policy.

Last week, Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the conduct of Freesoul had been deeply concerning to him personally for some time.

His comment came after New Zealand journalists, who had visited the site, had been arrested by who Bainimarama called rogue police officers.

This article is republished under the Pacific Media Centre’s content partnership with Radio New Zealand.

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