Kloop: “too fast” Chinese irritate Kyrgyzstan

Kloop: «слишком быстрые» китайцы раздражают Киргизию

“We don’t want the Chinese, we all lived with the cattle and will live, and they come dig up our land, mine our gold, spoil the environment, kills livestock, children get sick!” — angrily shouted a man on horseback. Gathered at the foot of the mountain, the crowd whistles and hums approvingly. Around is dust between parked haphazardly vehicles fleeing horsemen in kalpaki. Behind them, down the mountain riding a bulldozer with broken Windows, a young man looks out his window and removes all on camera phones. “So banish Chinese” — he concludes excitedly. From another window of dozer sticks out the flag of Kyrgyzstan.On top of the mountain a group of people dressed in beige coveralls, trying to escape from the trap on one side mountains, and on the other an angry mob. Hand constantly moving back or forward — like in a sort of group dance of pushing each other. To both sides and with both sides flying stones. Beige jumpsuits around kalpaki and flags of Kyrgyzstan — they are enraged by the resistance and force ready to retake the territory. Policemen are not enough to bring the situation under control.”All would be resolved peacefully, but the Chinese started throwing stones at us and received a response. They attacked first” — indignantly said one of the protesters, not noticing the bleeding lacerations on his face.The Chinese employees of the company Zhong Ji Mining, gold investor, which works on Naryn field Solton-Sary. The company has cemented this site back in 2009, and the infrastructure they have begun only this year. But during this time they managed to build more objects than neighboring her “Kyrgyzaltyn” managed to build for twenty years.Local don’t like it, according to them, the Chinese are ruining the environment because they build too fast and a lot. “After a year of work they could all search through, and where we will graze the cattle?” — the local shepherds, vypirayuschie their cattle for the Solton-Sary. This place is not only mine, but also jailoo, where people graze cattle, the residents of eight surrounding villages. In addition, local people believe that Chinese entrepreneurs are polluting their land and water and animals die.”We are of no use to these Chinese, we are always by themselves — lived and grazed cattle, because no one free will not. And then the Chinese come and dig up our land, extract the gold, polluting everything. But what about us? What will remain then for our children, if already today there cattle die from dirty water and children start to hurt? What will happen to their future?”, asks a native inhabitant of one of the closest villages to the mine, holding a little granddaughter.The Naryn consider myself a true Kyrgyz — according to them, they speak pure Kyrgyz, without any admixture of Uzbek, Russian or Kazakh as in other regions of the country. They believe that keeping the old way of life of the Kyrgyz people are engaged in cattle breeding, in the summer living in yurts at the altitude of over 3000 meters, and winter down in the village. And so every year. Local say — we’re ranchers, we don’t need anything.“If they do not vacate our land, then people will do it myself”Gold in Naryn, namely, Solton-Sary, began to produce in 1994. Then, Kyrgyzaltyn began to develop the Altyn-tor site, which became the first mining company of independent Kyrgyzstan, built on their money. Zhоng Ji became the second company to receive license for development of the neighboring area at Solton-Sary.The local protested against it back in 2011, when the company began reconnaissance work, but then the authorities have hushed up the conflict, after several round tables and discussions. It is known that following the conflict occurred in 2018 — a local said that the company pollutes the environment. In the summer of 2019 and history repeated itself — the villagers accused the company of poisoning the water and death of livestock. Authorities conducted an inspection and stated that guilty local time has not vaccinated cattle. The company as a charity has paid the money lost sheep to shepherds, and the matter was hushed up. Everything was again fine.But on August 3, 2019 on the basis of Chinese companies was a fight — two local guys against a dozen employees of the company. According to villagers, they just wanted to ask for water, and the Chinese were beaten. The Chinese company says that the boys were drunk, and their staff was just defending himself. What was in the house at the entrance to the field we don’t know, but here are the facts: the boys were in the hospital, and the next day mine went from 500 to 1000 men, requiring closure of the facility.To prevent clashes with the local workers arrived the Plenipotentiary of Naryn region Amanbai Kaiypov, but his argument was broken about an ultimatum the Chinese must leave the Solton-Sary. He promised the villagers to solve the issue and went back to Naryn. The protesters gave him time till evening.— If they do not vacate our land, then people will do it myself. Those who run away are cowards, ‘ cried the man from the crowd, urging the audience to stand for the closure of the company until the end.And when evening came, no reaction neither from the authorities nor from the Chinese company still was not. Then flew the first stone.China’s interest in Kyrgyzstan — minerals“Incidents between locals and foreign workers should not cause interruption or termination of the enterprise. If every such incident, the people will demand to close the company, then all the investors will turn away from us,” said the Prime Minister Muhammetguly Abylgaziev at a working government meeting in Bishkek.His Deputy, Vice Prime Minister, who arrived at the Solton-Sary next after clashes the day, also failed to affect the decision of the local. At that time, they’ve compiled a list of 83 requirements for Zhong Ji and threatened the officer to block the strategic road Bishkek-Torugart, if they do not perform. But the authorities were unable to promise local residents. The reason — China is one of the main strategic partners and investors, Kyrgyzstan, simply abandon these relations will not work.But China has a direct interest in Kyrgyzstan. According to the program Director for the Australian organization China Matters Dirk van der Glue that specializiruetsya on the relationship of China and the Central Asian States, China shares the countries in the region into two groups. Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to China is interesting as resource providers and partners on infrastructure projects.For example, almost 80% of Turkmen gas exports to China via pipelines that pass through the territory of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The latter is also China’s important partner in the initiative “One belt, one road” — a massive infrastructure project that will allow the Chinese products with ease to get to the markets of European countries. A large part of the terrestrial ways of this “belt” runs through Kazakhstan.Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are the main participants of the last major initiatives of the PRC, but this does not prevent them to cooperate closely with China. Last year the Chinese direct investments in the Kyrgyz economy amounted to 338 million dollars — almost 40% of all direct investment in the country. And according to the researcher, specializing in economic relations between China and Central Asian countries, Daniyar Moldokanov, the most interesting to Chinese investors in Kyrgyzstan minerals — such as gold.Chinese investment = political dependence?Gold reserves in the area Buchuk — part Solton-Sary, which is being developed by the Chinese — is 12 tons. Zhong Ji Mining was going to get two tons every year. But the development of the field Chinese employees to start did not — this was prevented by protests.After skirmishes at Solton-Sary, the government of Kyrgyzstan has temporarily suspended work of the Chinese company. But after two months of decision from the authorities is still there, and the work of Zhong Ji Mining is not resumed. Its leaders have taken their staff and equipment back to China and waiting for MIA to finish the investigation of the August riots. An investigation is underway, but the Chinese Embassy in Kyrgyzstan has demanded to punish those who “illegally invaded” the field.”For long years, Chinese enterprises to invest and do business in Kyrgyzstan, make a significant contribution to improving the well-being of the local population and strengthening of the traditional friendship between the peoples of the two countries,” — said at the Embassy after the incident at the Solton-Sary.China is indeed investing a lot of money to Kyrgyzstan, even if not to take into account direct investments. As of 2019, Kyrgyzstan owes China around $ 1.7 billion for all the loans that China has given him over the past decades. According to the researcher Daniyar Moldokanov, the terms of Chinese loans is very opaque: “If you take loans from the IMF or the world Bank, there is a clear and transparent list of rules, same for everyone. The terms of Chinese loans less transparent and depend on how the parties agree”. In his opinion, the Kyrgyz authorities are taking money from China, because “it’s easier, faster, and no red tape.”But this economic dependence does not entail political dependence, says Dirk van der Kley. In his opinion, greater political influence China has on Tajikistan than in Kyrgyzstan — due to the proximity of the first to Afghanistan. Recently, there have even begun to work the Chinese armed forces. However, van der Kley believes that China has very ably affects what politicians say in the region. “Leverage China is that they are very good to buy the silence or verbal support,” — said the expert.The Chinese Communist party wanted to maintain good relations with the Kyrgyz authorities and to look good in the eyes of the local population. Therefore, in his opinion, regard, meanwhile, conducted its work with the Zhong Ji Mining company’s strategy and the behavior of the Chinese authorities in the region. “I think the Chinese government needs to be very annoyed by this situation, because these points complicate the work of other Chinese companies in the country,” says van der Kley.Before the conflict Goetterspeise found 83 violations in the work of the company and fined a maximum of 448 thousand soms. According to the head of local village administration, the Chinese began to correct detected violations. But the villagers do not agree — say, the miners simply ignored these requirements.Environment and the formation of positive image“the Chinese have gone — the water has become cleaner, and the grass is growing normally again,” — says Mirlan, who is tending his flock on the jailoo just a few kilometers from the Chinese company.He and his wife live in a Yurt nearby. Of the amenities of a small generator and smart phones that catch 4G. And if you pick them up, family life is not different from how the Kyrgyz people lived a hundred years ago — in the center of the Yurt there is a small stove which she feeds, warms, family, and outside is a large cauldron, next to which basks in the sun the owner’s dog. But she immediately jumps up and runs after the master when he sits on a horse to herd the sheep in the stable.The wife of merlana setting the table. All of own production: oil, sour cream, yogurt and cakes. The latter is already over, why she is embarking on cooking a new — work-worn hands, quickly roll out the dough, and then carelessly throws it on the surface of iron furnace. Cakes rise quickly, and she throws some more dung on the fire.Mirlan is one of those who first began to speak about the violation of environmental norms. According to him, in June he without any signs of illness died the first RAM. The next day he lost two more animals, and the next day still the same. “They were all vaccinated. Just before he died, drank water from a stream and died there a few meters”, — with bitterness remembers Mirlan. For him, the death of even one sheep significant financial loss. And in the summer, he said, he lost 36 goals.A spokeswoman for the state Inspectorate for veterinary safety in Naryn oblast Kumar Isakov said that in July 2019 only killed 22 sheep carcasses of the two of them found nitrate and arsenic, the rest were clean.But Mirlan sure — his cattle died because of the polluted water in streams, flowing down into the pasture from the area Buchuk, who is developing the Chinese company. “When they blasted the rocks on the mountain, there is such a dust arose and nothing was seen. The snowy peaks turn brown, and then it all fell into our water,” says Mirlan. His opinion is supported by most locals — they are already not the first time that accuse the company of pollution of drinking water, in 2018 this brought the protest of about a hundred emekcileri.Water drinking some of the locals and the cattle — melt water from the glaciers on the mountain tops. In the channel of one of them, a Chinese company was going to construct a tailing dump for the waste material and even built a dam to there not leaking water. But members of the local residents, which monitors the company’s performance, sure — the dam was built incorrectly, and therefore after twenty years it begins to deteriorate. The water still goes to the tailings storage facility, after which the contaminated seep into the river He-Archa, and then to the Naryn river — the biggest river in Kyrgyzstan.But the Chinese company said that all inspections found no violations in their tailings pond, and the head of Withinspecies said that the cattle fell down due to infestation and inadequate vaccination.To “create a positive image” of the company, the Kyrgyz authorities have asked the investors to pay the money to herders who have lost livestock. But a positive image create failed — a few weeks after that, the local and employees of the company threw each other with stones.The government is afraid of the people“Foreign investment in agriculture and mining in any country usually do not cause favorable reaction from local residents, but in this case the fact that investments are coming from China, makes the situation only more difficult,” — says Dirk van der Kley. According to him, transactions of the Chinese authorities of Kyrgyzstan opaque, which makes the local population the additional suspicion and distrust of investors.In addition, the role that the Chinese government simply does not know how to create a good image — they just prefer to quietly survive the crises and to remain silent in case of victories.Daniyar Moldokanov believes that the government is not well explained to the people why the country needs investment from China. “The government is afraid of people, afraid that if will say that we have millions of Chinese projects and that there is a thriving Chinese business, they can shift from their seats,” — said the researcher.The Prime Minister acknowledged that explanatory work with local population were carried out only formally and in moments of crisis — for example, when people already came out to protest against the work of the company.Plot Buchuk very different from located on a nearby mountain Altyn-tor many years the enterprise Kyrgyzaltyn. There in the usual routine of crusher with a crash crushes the stones next to the building where the gold is separated from ore. Against the background of their leisurely work of the Chinese on the site was able for some months to cut the road on the hillside to build a dam and lay the foundations of future buildings.Such pace of work of the Chinese company could have scared the locals, the Director of the state Agency for promotion of investment Sumarac Adilbek uulu. “If the Chinese want to build a factory for 6 months, they do so at an accelerated pace,” says Adilbek uulu.Therefore, the Chinese are building their work, which is not popular with local people — in the words of Adilbek uulu, Kyrgyz “is often tightened over time.” Although, in his opinion, after the completion of the Chinese companies begin to hire more workers from among local residents. According to the government of nearly 500 staff working on the creation of infrastructure company, almost 300 Kyrgyz citizens. But according to the head of Min-Bulak ayil okmotu, the company employed only 126 local.This approach to the Chinese business experts is simple. Says Dirk van der Kley, jobs — the main currency in Sino-Kyrgyz relations, they need both, and others. Therefore, the creation of jobs for Kyrgyz and Chinese is often a condition of investment deals between Chinese companies and the Kyrgyz government. But, according to Moldokanov, in our country, low human capital, no professionals, but so surprised that Chinese companies bring their own workers, is not worth it.The village, as gold, silver and pearlsFirst conflict associated with the work of Zhong Ji Mining emerged in 2010-2011. Then the villagers Emgekchil protested against the fact that a license to develop the field was given to the Chinese, and not local company “Altyn Emgekchil”. By the way, one of its founders is Berdibek of Daiyrov, which are also suspected of co-organization of anti-China rallies 7 January 2019 in Bishkek. The second co-founder is someone named Joo Zhon Rong.The road to Emgekchil begins with the arch, which on both sides is guarded by two lions, covered in gilt. The inscription above them reads “Beautiful village, as gold, silver and pearls! Welcome to the friendly Emgekchil!” To reach the hospitable Emgekchil need to drive a few kilometers on the road with the fabulous landscape — only rare cars spoil the picture, like an old Windows screensaver.In the center of the village a small mosque, according to residents of the neighboring village, in recent years Emgekchil became fanatically religious. Recently, local activists have bought all the alcohol in the village and crushed it with bulldozers, declaring the informal prohibition.However, staggering the man who crosses the road in front of our car, apparently, have broken the law. Rhythmically swaying, he wraps behind a high fence that hides the pompous mansion. In front of the mansion trimmed green lawn from the passing cows he fenced only a neat iron gate. “Of course, the owner of this house was engaged in mining gold,” says our driver.In the mines, which is now owned by a Chinese company, local inhabitants had extracted the gold themselves and then sell it on the black market. Mostly this was done by the residents Emgekchil, where almost everyone had a homemade apparatus to separate gold from ore. For this reason, emgekchil were the first to protest against Chinese investors — they wanted to mine the precious metal themselves. But, in their opinion, the site Buchuk for good money the Chinese gave the son of the fugitive President Maxim Bakiyev. No evidence of this, of course not.According to a local activist Zhanybek Sopieva, in the village of gold mining had long been engaged. We pass mansions, which by their pomposity savinovskiy more like villas than usual for the Kyrgyz village of mud houses. But he is asking to close this topic — apparently, someone “above” asked the local is not particularly sprayed on artisanal mining. Video footage released in 2016 about how emekcileri independently mined gold, had not benefited the locals, and soon attracted the attention of law enforcement.Video Zhanybek, even without a beard and skullcap, tells how local mined gold in improvised mines. Says, have to pay the police, so they do not interfere with work. “I’m afraid for their health, there are risks. But we’re not from a good life,” says a colleague of Zhanybek, squatting in the narrow tunnel. 15 hours spent in the mine, emgekchil could earn $ 150 — enough, according to them, the money for the place where there is no more work. Over the past ten years, Naryn province was almost always in the top three in terms of poverty among the regions.Although not all believe in the plight of amagqirha. “There were times when even teenagers in Emgekchil walked around with wads of money. Sometimes, after a successful local campaign in the mine walked in Naryn and spend tens of thousands of catfish in one night,” says a local journalist Mirlan.”Now everything is engaged only in cattle breeding”, — insists Zhanybek until we pass man, who suspiciously goes through the rock into a large VAT of water. Rumor has it that the local has not ceased to extract gold — Solton-Sary is not the only field in Naryn oblast.Pomposity does not hold and the neighboring Min-Bulak to the centre of the rural district, in possession of the Solton-Sary. Its Chairman Kazybek Usupov meets us in his posh office, sitting at Desk in dark wood. Shooting himself on camera is prohibited, and photography sits at the table in a modest office in the neighborhood. He says the local conflict with the Chinese would not comment on until I get the order “from above”. In fact, to say he is afraid — if you publicly support the Chinese, did not understand local, and if you stand on the side of the local, do not understand Chinese. The company Zhong Ji Mining according to official figures highlighted Min-Bulak ayil okmotu, about 37 million kgs, almost a third of the local budget.”Our AO is recognized as the best — proudly says Usupov sitting at your Desk. Such agricultural machinery, as we do, even in the field there.” As we speak, he’s watching what’s going on in the building of aiyl okmotu on two monitors of your computer.Min-Bulak is one of the richest rural district councils for financial assistance from Zhong Ji Mining. For the money, local officials have repaired schools, kindergartens, paved road and bought agricultural machinery.”Kyrgyzstan to develop the necessary investors, all countries are so developed,” — said Usupov.But, according to experts, Chinese investments in Kyrgyzstan are always accompanied by large kickbacks all officials who meet on the way to the investor. “China adapts to the status quo. If there is corruption, then the Chinese will act in the framework of this system,” says researcher Daniyar Moldokanov.Powerful becauseKyrgyzstan is not the most important for the China market — trade with the countries of Central Asia is a tiny part of China’s foreign trade. But the region can be attractive to Chinese investors for another reason in China they do is simply nothing. According to Dirk van der Glue, mining and agricultural companies in China now have hard times — we have to raise the salaries of employees, to maneuver between the environmental laws and restrictions, and compete with thousands of their own kind. Many companies based in the Chinese provinces, trying to find foreign markets in which they can enter.Central Asia in this regard tidbit here low competition and great opportunity. For example, Tajikistan has become attractive for cement producers — the prices there are quite high, and worthy opponents is almost there. Therefore, despite the difficult business environment and the need to participate in corruption schemes, Chinese companies every year invest more money in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. And the Kyrgyz authorities gladly accept more investment from China, but, according to van der Glue, they fear misunderstanding on the part of civil society. Kyrgyz people highly suspicious of any Chinese investments.According to the expert Sheradil of Baktygulov, the roots of negative attitudes towards China are Soviet propaganda in the 1960s — then Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan was part of the Central Asian region, which was preparing for war with China. “Starting at school at lessons of initial military preparation of the population is also prepared for this confrontation. Arising in that period the Soviet-Chinese border conflict has led to negative attitudes about the Chinese firmly entrenched in our consciousness,” — said the expert. In addition, the tragic events of 1916 do not inspire love for the Chinese — then after a failed uprising against the Russian Empire, the Kyrgyz fled to China, where most of the fleeing dead.”You know about “Orcon”? As then Chinese were killed by Kyrgyz people and do it now. This water that flows from the Buchuk, we drink. And the Chinese do not care [what quality], as well as the government,” – said one of the elders of Min-Bulak, sitting on a stool in the shade of a tree. Passing residents stopped and respectfully greeted the old man. “The environment gets contaminated, it will affect our future generations,” concludes the elder.But without Chinese investments to the Kyrgyzstan’s economy, like any other Central Asian economies, it will be difficult, experts say. It is understood and locals. Ulanbek — the shepherd and the owner of the house where there was a fight between locals and Chinese workers, grimaces and spits, when we ask him about which side he supports.— Why then do you rented them a house?— You are interesting! his tanned and weathered face folds into a grimace, to which alone life arguments! You are wearing your torn jeans and sneakers that are made in China. Why? Because they are powerful. So here we are.

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