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Wednesday 4 September 2019

Protest against Chinese Influence in Kazakhstan


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ALMATY/NUR-SULTAN (Reuters) — Kazakhs protesting against the construction of Chinese factories held public rallies in three Kazakh cities on Wednesday, demanding a ban on an initiative which the Central Asian nation’s government hoped would bring investment and jobs.

The protests first started in the small industrial town of Zhanaozen in Western Kazakhstan on Sunday as about 100 people gathered to demand a ban on what they described as plans to move outdated and polluting Chinese plants to Kazakhstan.

On Monday, the crowd grew to more than 300 people, according to local newspaper Lada. Speaking to the protesters, regional governor Serikbai Trumov said there were no such plans — although the government has said it was discussing a number of investment projects with Chinese companies.

But rallies continued on Wednesday, widening to include the capital, Nur-Sultan, and the country’s biggest city, Almaty.

In Almaty, about 30 people gathered outside the mayor’s office holding banners such as “No Chinese plants” and singing the national anthem. In Nur-Sultan (ex Astana), about two dozen people rallied at one of the central squares, displaying banners with similar messages.

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