Majlis Podcast: Demonstrations Against Chinese Influence Continue In Kazakhstan

September 29, 2019 15:16 GMT
By Bruce Pannier
Muhammad Tahir

There were more demonstrations in Kazakhstan against Chinese influence on September 21.

Many people at those protests voiced concerns about China’s growing economic presence in Kazakhstan.

But previous demonstrations have also included criticisms of the number of Chinese workers in Kazakhstan, their salaries, which some believe are higher than Kazakh workers performing the same work, and Beijing’s treatment of ethnic Kazakhs in China’s western Xinjiang region.

The head of the opposition Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK), fugitive banker Mukhtar Ablyazov, called for the protests on September 21, but it is unclear how many of the people who came out on the streets were actually supporters of Ablyazov or the DVK.

RFE/RL's media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderated a discussion on the September 21 demonstrations, who was driving them, and what the concerns were of those who turned out.

From Kazakhstan, we were joined by Bota Alzhanova, co-founder of the Qaharman human rights initiative, and Leila Adiljan, who is campaigning for the rights of ethnic Kazakhs from China and is the wife of Serikzhan Bilash, the founder of the Ata-Jurt organization, which campaigns for the rights of ethnic Kazakhs from Xinjiang. As usual, I also participated in the discussion.