The meeting of the Central Asian countries with Xi Jinping should not only be read as a counterbalance to the G7. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan used to be Moscow's 'backyard'. Today, they not only de-Russify linguistically and socially, but welcome China's big brother with open arms.
Astana has extended the period of visa-free stay for Chinese citizens, Bishkek is preparing to do the same. On May 18 and 19, Xi Jinping will meet in Xi'an with the presidents of the former Soviet republics. Beijing points to the revitalization of the Belt and Road Initiative, which is in danger of stalling. But local activists protest repression in neighboring Xinjang, with which there are deep ties.
Today's news: the death toll in China has risen to 29 from a fire in a hospital in the capital; The Afghan economy at risk if international aid is cut; Indian authorities have imposed school closures in parts of the country hit by an exceptional heat wave; Kuala Lumpur is considering restrictions on the use of water for "non-essential" purposes; "bad weather" forces Pyongyang to cancel the "Day of the Sun", celebrating founder Kim Il-Sung.
The former Soviet countries of the region busy recovering the deep dimensions of their own memory. Kyrgyzstan still lagging behind. Further ahead Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The history of peoples begins with that of families. The humiliating labour migration to Russia and Europe from the region.
Today's headlines: Iraq blocks a Ramadan TV series deemed offensive to tribal leaders; Vietnamese activist sentenced to six years for 'propaganda against the state'; Israel launches an upgraded version of the spy satellite; territorial tensions between Moscow and Beijing in the South China Sea; police in Kyrgyzstan raid a church, fining a nun.
The Chinese launch the new 5+1 format for dialogue with the former Soviet republics in the region. The focus on communication campaigns in Kyrgyzstan. The risk of being dragged into the geopolitical competition between the West and the China-Russia duo.