In a clear sign of China's ever-growing influence, a Chinese real estate company that bought an Australian island in 2019 has now banned the residents from even entering the place. The residents have complained they have been barred from living at the Keswick Island after China Bloom bought it for a 99-year lease.
A resident named Julie Willis said during a local programme called "A Current Affair" that the realtor might not want locals on the island, and that they might solely want it for the Chinese tourists.
As per locals, they have even been barred from renting their properties on vacation rental online marketplace Airbnb by the China Bloom. By doing this, China Bloom has not only banned these people from entering the island but also hampered tourism in the area, the locals claim.
After its sale in 2019, there's no tourist inflow to the beautiful island in the Queensland area. The government's department of resources said during "A Current Affair" programme that issues that have cropped up between the island's residents and China Bloom can be "resolved".
"The Department's responsibility is to work with both the head lessee China Bloom and sublessees to ensure all relevant activities are in accordance with the terms of the lease, particularly as China Bloom works to upgrade the island's roads, boat ramps, jetties and marine infrastructure," the department said, reported New York Post.
The relationship between China and Australia has reached a low point of late. Australia had recently demanded an apology after a senior Chinese official posted a fake image of an Australian soldier holding a knife with blood on it to the throat of an Afghan child, calling it "truly repugnant" and demanding it be taken down, reported Reuters. China has refused to take down the picture despite the Australian government calling it fake.
Since the spread of the COVID-19 virus on the global level, Australia has supported the call to investigate the origin of the virus and has indirectly blamed China for the global crisis. Angry with Australia, China had earlier imposed 80 per cent tariff on imports of Australian barley.