Chinese companies are known for their forays overseas and have met considerable success. Now, a Chinese real estate company is in the news for its latest venture which has left locals in an Australian island fuming. China Bloom, a real estate firm, got a 99-year lease on an Australian island and decided to block the residents from living there.
Residents of the island say they cannot go back to their homes since developer China Bloom took control of the Keswick Island in 2019. Former island resident Julie Willis said that they just do not think the company wants Australians on the island. She said that she thinks the Chinese want to have this island solely focused on Chinese tourists.
The Chinese developer has even banned residents from renting their homes on vacation rental marketplaces like Airbnb, which, according to the residents, has ruined tourism, and blocked them from entering the island from air, land and sea.
Former resident Rayna Asbury said there have been no tourists since September last year on Keswick Island, which is owned by the Queensland Government. The island has been declared a national park.
The Queensland Department of Resources said they hoped that any issue between the island’s residents and the Chinese company be resolved amicably. In their statement, the department said that its 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 as the real estate company works to develop the island’s roads, boat ramps, jetties and marine infrastructure.
According to reports, Tensions between China and Australia have been growing in recent times. Most recently an image showing an Australian soldier killing an Afghan child was shared on social media by a Chinese official that ignited a dispute between the two. China denied any wrongdoing on their part. Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said China should be utterly ashamed for sharing the fake image.