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Story Publication logo August 9, 2012

China Leaves Its Mark on Suriname's Amazonian Rainforest


Media file: Delano_Suriname_China_002.jpg

Suriname, with its pristine environment, has become a pawn in a new Great Game as the balance of...


Chinese immigration to Suriname, a country of half a million people, has fueled a backlash among ordinary Surinamese. Anti-Chinese racism is on the rise as the proliferation of Chinese-owned corner markets and discount retail shops have the Surinamese worried that the nation's entrepreneurial class could be driven out of business. The Chinese migrants tend to be exceptionally hard working, but at the end of the day, they are non-citizens who are apparently unaware of growing resentment around them.

The U.S. government is also concerned about the swelling ranks of Chinese migrant workers and Beijing's increasing engagement in South America. The Americans see it as a disconcerting projection of Beijing's "soft power" in a region where the U.S. is used to dominating. At risk are Suriname's pristine rainforests--environmental treasures, but the Chinese government is eyeing the mineral wealth beneath the surface.

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