March 13, 2019

THE DRAGON HAS NO TEETH:

Is anti-Chinese mood growing in Kyrgyzstan? (Kamila Eshaliyeva, 13 March 2019, Open Democracy)

In December 2018, members of the Kyrgyz nationalist Kyrk Choro organisation held their first protest action outside the Chinese Embassy in Bishkek. According to media reports, around 50 people turned up to demand that the government deport illegal migrants within a month -- and to stop the persecution of ethnic Kyrgyz in China.

A few weeks later, a second protest - this time spontaneous - took place on 7 January this year, on Bishkek's central Ala-Too Square, where witnesses report seeing about 300 people. The aim of this action? Activists once again demanded that "illegal" migrants be deported. Representatives of Kyrk Choro stated that they were not involved in this protest.

Then, on 17 January, another anti-Chinese protest was organised in central Bishkek. Its organisers demanded that the Kyrgyz government check Chinese citizens' work permits, lower the foreign workers' quota, and cancel the country's debt to China (approximately $1.7 billion, according to the Finance Ministry); some protesters even demanded a ban on Kyrgyz women marrying Chinese men. The demo ended with the arrest of 21 protesters: the police claimed that the activists were obstructing traffic and using foul language.

This series of increasingly well-attended protests has provoked discussion on Kyrgyz social media -- unsurprising at a time when public fears about the detention of ethnic Kyrgyz in Xinjiang are high.

Posted by at March 13, 2019 6:19 AM

  

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