By Stephen Blank
April 18, 2019, the CACI Analyst
The Washington Post recently reported that China has an operating military base in Tajikistan, confirming earlier accounts of this base and opening a window on China’s interests and strategic developments across Central Asia. However, China may have a second base situated in the Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan. Chinese forces have been present there since 2017, around the same time that the base in Tajikistan became functional. The newly discovered base, along with the base in Djibouti and the possible base in Afghanistan, reflects the pressures building from within the PRC and PLA to project military power beyond China’s borders, e.g. in the South China Sea.
By Nurlan Aliyev
April 16, 2019, the CACI Analyst
An anti-Chinese protest took place in Bishkek on January 17, 2019, the third in recent months. The protesters demanded a moratorium on issuing Kyrgyz passports to Chinese citizens, except for ethnic Kyrgyz, to scrutinize all Chinese-funded enterprises and also to test the appropriateness of loans taken from China. They demanded that Chinese citizens who reside illegally in Kyrgyzstan should be deported and a halt to labor quotas for Chinese. Other topics raised were high-level corruption and demands for transparency in the government’s financial activities, especially regarding its expenditure of Chinese grants and loans. Protesters also expressed disapproval of marriages between Kyrgyz women and Chinese men, demanding prohibited registration of mixed marriages and fines for newlyweds. The anti-Chinese protests in Kyrgyzstan take place in a broader context of rising sinophobic sentiments in Central Asia in recent years.
By Ruth Ingram
March 25, 2019, the CACI Analyst
Official reassurances that Xinjiang's internment camps are only "temporary" fly in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary. Faced with incontrovertible data that now up to 1.5 million Uyghurs and Kazakhs are extra-judicially interned, Beijing is refusing to bow to international criticism and continues to justify its counter-terrorism strategy. Calling on the world to support its methods, Beijing is mounting an all-out public relations drive to persuade critical voices that in fact the camps are benign and successful in achieving their objectives. But the "experiment" already two years in operation shows no sign of abating. World leaders are calling it a cultural genocide and stepping up their demands to inspect the facilities.
By Sudha Ramachandran
March 14, 2019, the CACI Analyst
In November 2018, Baluch militants, angry with China’s exploitation of their resources through Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects, attacked the Chinese consulate in Karachi, Pakistan. This underscored the vulnerability of Chinese nationals and infrastructure projects outside China’s borders to terrorism. In addition, China’s repression of Muslim Uighurs in its Xinjiang province has drawn the ire of Uighur militants and jihadist groups. China will have to find a way to secure its nationals abroad and projects in BRI member-states, without triggering alarm among BRI skeptics.
By Stephen Blank
February 13, 2019, the CACI Analyst
When he announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, President Trump also announced the departure of one half (7,000) of America’s troops in Afghanistan. This abrupt decision both damaged the U.S. position in the Middle East and undermined ongoing negotiations with the Taliban over Afghanistan. It upset all the calculations of the Afghan government, leaving it scrambling for a new negotiating and strategic posture, and undid two years of successful albeit modest U.S. policy of renewed economic and political support for Central Asia. This will allow both Beijing and Moscow to respond by extending their influence in Central Asia at America’s expense and to employ their strongest capabilities for doing so.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.