At least 57 people were arrested during demonstrations in Nur-Sultan and Almaty on Saturday, September 21. The protests were reportedly organized by leaders of the banned political opposition group Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) to denounce perceived negative Chinese influence in the country.
Similar protests are possible in Kazakhstan over the coming days. Heightened security measures and localized transportation disruptions are likely around demonstration sites.
China is a major investor in Kazakhstan's energy sector and Kazakhstan's biggest trade partner. However, anti-Chinese sentiment has been rising over the last decade due to fear of corruption, Chinese influence, excessive reliance on Chinese investment, and accusation of Chinese companies of hiring few local staff.
In addition, China's "de-radicalization" campaign targeting Muslim minorities (including ethnic Kazakhs) in China's neighboring Xinjiang province has precipitated increased Kazakh antipathy toward China.
Individuals in Nur-Sultan are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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