The fate of “One Belt, One Road” is uncertain, Kazakh protests continue

The Communist Party of China’s “Belt and Road” has been frequently blocked, and China has provided more than 13.1 billion yuan to Kazakhstan for light rail construction, but the country has become one of the most anti-Communist countries in Central Asia in recent years. Anti-Communist protests have been rampant in the region.

Kazakhstan is an important investment location for the Communist Party’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative. There are close economic and trade ties between the two countries. The Communist Party’s China Development Bank previously announced a $1.9 billion (13.1 billion yuan) financing deal to help build a massive light rail system in Kazakhstan, which was originally planned to be on the road by 2020. But that plan fell through.

On April 3, the Voice of America reported that Kazakhstan is a key country for the Chinese Communist Party’s diplomatic push in Central Asia. The Communist Party chose Kazakhstan as the location for its “One Belt, One Road” plan several years ago. But the country has also become one of the most anti-Communist countries in Central Asia. Anti-Communist protests have been ongoing in the region.

On March 27, new anti-communist protests broke out in Kazakhstan. In the square in front of the Kazakh National Academy of Sciences in Almaty, the former capital and first city, a large crowd held a rally to protest the expansion of the Communist Party and Chinese immigration.

Other demands of this protest included a protest against CCP threats and a call for the authorities to ban the sale and lease of all types of land, including agricultural arable land, to the CCP. The authorities were called upon to prohibit the relocation of more than 50 factories to Kazakhstan, as well as to stop borrowing from the CCP, among others. The subject of Xinjiang was also raised.

Many years ago, the Communist Party of China agreed with Kazakhstan to invest and build more than 50 factories in Kazakhstan in joint ventures. This issue has been on the radar of Kazakh society in recent years. Local critics have accused the Chinese Communist Party of intentionally transferring environmentally polluting production companies to the country, and have criticized the deal as opaque and Kazakh officials as corrupt, among other things.

The rally on March 27 was approved by the authorities, but its organizer, the well-known Kazakh journalist Mamai, criticized the authorities for deliberately making it difficult and obstructing the rally, and many of the participants were arrested, the report said. Internet signals were cut off in and around the rally while it was taking place.

The rally was just the latest in a series of anti-Communist protests that have continued in recent years in Kazakhstan. The largest and most influential anti-communist protests took place in 2016.

At the time, it swept through many parts of Kazakhstan, with protesters unhappy with laws that perpetuate the leasing of agricultural land to foreigners, including the Chinese Communist Party. Authorities were forced to call off and freeze the law under protest pressure.

Anti-communist protests also erupted in many cities across the country in the fall of 2019, on the eve of Kazakh President Tokaev’s departure for a visit to China. Demonstrators called on the president not to go to China, not to get loans from the Chinese Communist Party and that Western investment should be attracted instead of Communist investment.

Some Kazakh media reporters say that anti-communist protests occur almost every year, and that anti-communist slogans and slogans can be seen and heard even at some other non-communist-related protests.

There are also many anti-communist protests focused on Xinjiang issues, some of which are held near the Communist Party’s embassy and consulate in Kazakhstan. Protesters demanded the release of their relatives in Xinjiang and sometimes clashed with Kazakh police outside the embassy and consulates.

“One Belt, One Road” Initiative Shatters Central Asia Dreams

In addition to Kazakhstan, anti-Communist clashes have repeatedly erupted in Kyrgyzstan, a small Central Asian country that is a “comprehensive strategic partner” of the Chinese Communist Party. Beijing’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative has been blocked. Chinese companies and local joint ventures have been attacked.

Freeman (a pseudonym), who lives in the Kyrgyz capital Biskerik, told Apple Daily that since the Communist Party’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative in the Central Asian country, there have been reports of oppression of local workers.

He said the Chinese companies’ strategy of trying to control road infrastructure has left the Kyrgyz government billions of dollars in debt, but the Chinese Communist Party has refused local requests to delay repayment and threatened to use land as collateral if the local government does not repay on time, thus triggering discontent among the local population.

He referred to the previous gold mine clashes, in which Kyrgyz herders stormed the gold mine site of the Chinese-invested Solton-Sary, because Chinese workers were paid more than local workers and exploited their labor, while the Chinese company used force to suppress the local workers, and both sides threw stones at each other, resulting in 47 Chinese workers being injured.

Last February, the two sides clashed again when a plan to build a $280 million logistics center on the border between China and Kyrgyzstan was also cancelled, leading to a new round of protests by local residents who said the project amounted to “illegal land grabbing.

Analysts say the Chinese Communist Party’s “Belt and Road” initiative is now facing a dilemma, from Myanmar, Central Asia and Africa, where the Communist Party has only had economic influence and no impact on the political situation in the countries.

“One Belt, One Road” Exposes CCP’s Strategic Ambitions

“The “Belt and Road” initiative was proposed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 2013 to link the CCP with Africa, Asia and Europe through a network of ports, railroads, highways and industrial parks along the Belt and Road.

At least 70 countries have reportedly been involved in the “Belt and Road” plan, a trillion-dollar investment by the Chinese Communist Party. At least 13 countries are at risk of debt crises as a result of the plan, which involves countries across Asia, Africa and Europe.

But Western countries have criticized the Belt and Road Initiative as creating a debt trap, giving the Chinese Communist Party influence over debtor countries or long-term access to facilities such as ports.

For example, Pakistan, which is in debt crisis, will give the Gwadar port, 91% of its operating income for the next 40 years, to the CCP; while Sri Lanka, which is unable to repay its debt, signed a lease with the CCP at the end of 2017 and was forced to lease the important port of Hambantota, to the CCP for 99 years, etc.

These ports are said to be strategically located, and are key positions in the “string of pearls” strategy of the Chinese Communist Party’s military, which is preparing to expand around the Indian Ocean.

Daniel Kliman, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a U.S. think tank, said the Belt and Road Initiative is a tool for the Chinese Communist Party to advance its strategic ambitions.

The security center has issued a report saying that the Belt and Road project could bring seven categories of risks to countries along the way, including erosion of national sovereignty, lack of transparency, unsustainable financial burdens, disengagement from local economic needs, geopolitical risks, negative environmental impacts and corruption.

However, the Chinese Communist Party is currently running out of money to invest, and its foreign exchange reserves are rapidly dwindling under the impact of the continued deterioration of U.S.-China relations and the pandemic. Shi Jiandao, a China economic researcher at the American Enterprise Institute, said the CCP’s balance of payments is already in deficit, and the “Belt and Road” is fading without money to support it.