Several detained in Kazakhstan protests

September 22, 2019

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ALMATY: Police detai­ned dozens in Kazakhstan’s two largest cities on Saturday as they took part in the latest protest against China’s influence in the Central Asian republic.

China is already one of Kazakhstan’s largest investors and trade partners and a plan to relocate a number of Chinese plants and factories to the former Soviet republic has faced public opposition.

The latest round of protests on Saturday was organised by supporters of Mukhtar Ablyazov, a fugitive banker living in France who has been the fiercest critic of Kazakhstan’s first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Authorities have detained 57 people and may be charged, the interior ministry said.

China is a major investor in Kazakhstan’s energy sector and buys oil and gas from the mostly Muslim nation of 18 million, but critics accuse some Chinese companies — as well as Western ones — of hiring too few local staff and paying them less than foreign workers.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2019