Bilateral agreements signed in June have opened the doors to Chinese expansionism into Kyrgyzstan. About 77 per cent of foreign migrants in the country are Chinese.
Bishkek (AsiaNews) – Chinese represent 77 per cent of all foreign migrants in Kyrgyzstan, the State Migration Service reported on 8 December.
The number of Chinese has been growing since June when Chinese and Kyrgyz authorities agreed that some 40 Kyrgyz plants, some on the brink of bankruptcy, would be run by Chinese to industrialise the country.
According to the agreement, 80 per cent of the employees in Chinese-run factories must be Kyrgyz and the ceiling for foreign migrants in the country would be 13,500 per year.
The Chinese Embassy in Bishkek says that there are about 20,000 Chinese migrants working at various jobs, but according to a former Labour, Migration, and Youth minister, the real number is much higher -- around 50,000.
One nationalist group, Erkin El, claims that up to 300,000 Chinese are already living in Kyrgyzstan.
In recent months China has acquired a large amount of resources in Kyrgyzstan like oil, coal, natural gas and precious metals.
This is perceived negatively by Kyrgyz who see these bilateral agreements as legitimising Chinese expansionism.
Kyrgyzstan is dealing with high unemployment. Out of the country's population of 5.5 million, an estimated 500,000 people leave each year to seek seasonal work in Russia and Kazakhstan.