Kyrgyzstan: Another protest in Bishkek against Chinese migrants

BISHKEK (TCA) — Hundreds of activists gathered on January 17 in the center of the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, to protest against what they called the increasing number of Chinese migrants in Kyrgyzstan, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.

During the demonstration at Bishkek’s Ala-Too Square, the participants urged the authorities to deport illegal Chinese migrants back to their country and stop granting citizenship to them.

The demonstrators also expressed support for ethnic Kyrgyz who they said were being persecuted in reeducation camps in China’s northwestern province of Xinjiang.

Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry official Almaz Imangaziev met with the demonstrators and told them that all migrants from China were residing and working in Kyrgyzstan legally.

However, the demonstrators disagreed and said that all Chinese businesses in the Central Asian country should be checked in an effort to locate illegal immigrants.

Following similar protests in Bishkek in recent months, President Sooronbai Jeenbekov on January 11 warned that “those trying to disrupt Kyrgyz-Chinese partnership” will face legal prosecution.

The United Nations said in August that an estimated 1 million Muslims from Xinjiang were being held in “counterextremism centers.”

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

China denies that the facilities are internment camps.

Uyghurs are the largest indigenous community in Xinjiang, followed by Kazakhs, and the region is also home to ethnic Kyrgyz, Tajiks, and Hui, also known as Dungans.

Han, China’s largest ethnicity, are the second-largest community in Xinjiang.

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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