Riots in the Solomon Islands have left hundreds of Chinese citizens homeless, Beijing’s embassy said on Monday as the Pacific nation’s prime minister faced a no-confidence vote. The embassy said it was coordinating resources and help among Chinese nationals. “Some have housed people who lost their homes while some have generously donated clothes and other items,” it said. The embassy also said it supported the government of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in its efforts to quell the unrest. The turmoil in Honiara began on November 24 with a peaceful protest by Malaita for Democracy, a pro-Taiwan group from Malaita province, home to many opponents of the Beijing-friendly Sogavare. The demonstrators were protesting against Sogavare’s decision to switch official ties from Taipei to Beijing after his 2019 electoral victory, as well as against alleged corruption and unemployment. As the dispute devolved into riots, four people were killed in the city’s Chinatown, shops were looted and dozens of buildings were torched, with police using tear gas and rubber bullets to try to quell the unrest. The country’s central bank put the damage bill from the riots at US$67 million, with the loss of about thousand jobs. Without offering evidence or details, Sogavare has blamed the riots on intervention by foreign forces aimed at forcing him out of office. He also accused Malaita of being “Taiwan’s agent”. Taiwan’s foreign ministry has denied involvement in the unrest. Malaita is the Solomons’ most populous province and is governed by Premier Daniel Suidani, who supports Taiwan and the United States. Suidani has banned mainland Chinese businesses from the province and called for an independence referendum. Beijing and Taipei have been courting Honiara with development and Covid-19 aid. Before the diplomatic switch, Taipei had given Solomons’ legislators and senior officials small grants. Even after Taiwanese diplomats withdrew from the Solomons, Taipei sent 5,000 masks and 52 tonnes of rice to the province as part of its “Taiwan is Helping” Covid-19 diplomacy campaign. On Monday, Sogavare confronted a vote of no confidence brought by opposition leader Matthew Wale. Sogavare survived the vote, with 32 parliamentarians supporting him, 15 in favor of his ousting and two abstentions. In the heated day-long debate, Wale accused Sogavare of maintaining his rule using Beijing’s funds. He condemned the riots “in the strongest terms”, but said: “It pales, Mr Speaker, in comparison to the looting happening at the top at the expense of ordinary Solomon Islanders.” Sogavare said his removal would amount to succumbing to lawlessness and hooliganism. He also said Beijing’s funds were essential for the development of Solomon Islands. “If I resign, sir, it would be a message to our young children and youth, Mr Speaker, that whenever we are not happy with those in authority, we take the laws into our own hands,” Sogavare said. “This is a very dangerous message to our people and future generations.” Is US-China struggle behind Solomon riots – or ‘just icing on the cake’? Businesses in Honiara remained closed ahead of the vote, as military and police officers from Australia , Fiji, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea maintained order. Solomon Islands police also imposed a temporary liquor ban and the force’s commissioner warned social media users not to instigate hatred and violence. “Police will not hesitate to arrest anyone who posts inflammatory comments that are likely to exacerbate the current situation,” commissioner Mostyn Mangau said on Sunday.