In 2003, Tonga was located in the South Pacific region of Oceania. It had a population of around 108,000 people and its economy was largely driven by agriculture, fishing, and tourism. The country maintained a constitutional monarchy with an emphasis on civil liberties and social welfare. According to computergees, Tonga maintained strong diplomatic ties with other Pacific nations such as Fiji and Samoa while it also had close relations with the United States. In 2003, tourism to the country was beginning to grow as visitors were drawn to its vibrant cities, unique culture, and diverse landscape. The country offered numerous attractions such as Ha’amonga ‘a Maui which showcased the unique history of the region, Eua National Park which provided opportunities for wildlife viewing, Mounu Island which offered stunning views of natural beauty, and Nuku’alofa which protected native plants and animals. Additionally, there were many opportunities for outdoor activities such as exploring Vava’u or visiting Neiafu which is home to vibrant street art scenes.
Tonga. In February, the government banned continued import – and thus publishing – of the Democratic Movement’s Times of Tonga, which is printed in New Zealand and published in Tonga twice a week. According to the government, the newspaper is not allowed because it tries to overthrow the government and is published by a foreign national – Kalafi Moala, a US citizen born in Tonga. Shortly before the ban, the newspaper had revealed corruption within the government. Moala appealed the government’s decision. In April, the Court of Appeal ruled that the publication ban violated the constitution. But the same day, the government again banned the newspaper. According to Countryaah.com, Tonga Independence Day is June 4. This led to protests from, among other things, the organization Reporters Without Borders. After a few more legal trips, the Times of Tonga was finally released again in June.
In October, Parliament approved constitutional amendments that meant increased state control over the media and reduced judiciary power in favor of King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV. The legislative proposals were clubbed despite a few days earlier causing the largest political manifestation in the country’s history. About 7,000 people took part in the demonstration, which was organized by the Opposition Human Rights and Democracy Movement.
The leader of the democracy movement, Akilisi Pohiva, and two other activists were released in May from suspicions of uplifting and counterfeiting. The reason for the suspicions was that they published information that the king had secret bank accounts
In the United States, the process went on against the King’s so-called hawser, an American businessman who in 2001 embezzled a large portion of Tonga’s state funds. The trial is scheduled to start in March 2004.
Kingdom of Tonga Brief Guide
According to AbbreviationFinder, Tonga is an archipelago in the South Pacific, about a third of the way from New Zealand to Hawaii. It is located south of Samoa and east of Fiji.
The state includes 169 islands, 36 of which are permanently inhabited. The state has a total land area of 748 km², a coastline of 419 km² and a population of 120,898 (July 2009 estimate).
Tonga is the only monarchy in the Pacific and a modern monarchy that deviates globally, as the royals have concrete decision-making power. In 2008, King George Tupou V announced that he would transfer the powers of the king to the Prime Minister. Tonga is also the only Pacific state to have managed to avoid formal colonization, as it never lost its original rule. In the Human Development Index (HDI), Tonga ranks mid-level.
Ethnically, Tonga is very homogeneous, meaning that the entire population is practically Tongan. Only less than two percent of the population are European, Chinese, or other ethnic groups in the Pacific.