Kazakhstan: Hundreds hold anti-Chinese rally in Zhanaozen for second day

NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — Hundreds of protesters rallied in Kazakhstan’s volatile southwestern town of Zhanaozen for the second day on September 3 demanding President Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev cancel his upcoming visit to China, RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service reported.

The protesters gathered on the town’s central square and challenged Kazakhstan’s proposal to build 55 industrial facilities in the country with China’s financial assistance and called on citizens from other cities in the country to launch similar protests on September 4.

Some of the protesters demanded what they described as a “complete cleansing of Kazakhstan’s power structures of corruption.”

A day earlier, about 100 protesters demonstrated in Zhanaozen.

Tokayev is scheduled to pay an official two-day visit to Beijing starting on September 11. The demonstrators also called on Tokayev to stop accepting loans from China.

The governor of the Manghystau region, Serikbai Turymov, met with the protesters and promised them that no Chinese plants will be built in the country.

Zhanaozen is a restive oil-industry town where police in December 2011 fatally shot at least 16 people while dispersing protests by local oil workers.

Anti-Chinese sentiment in Kazakhstan has been rising in recent months amid reports about the plight of indigenous ethnic groups, including Kazakhs, in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang.

The United Nations said last year that an estimated 1 million ethnic Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking indigenous people of Xinjiang were being held in what it described as “counterextremism centers” in the province.

The UN also said millions more had been forced into internment camps.

China says that the facilities are “vocational education centers” aimed at helping people steer clear of terrorism and allowing them to be reintegrated into society.

Sergey Kwan

Sergey Kwan

Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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