Staunton, March 12 – Kyrgyzstan, a source of numerous gastarbeiters in Russia, now faces an influx of such workers from China, and a new organization, the Coalition of a New Generation, is pledging to do everything it can to oppose their presence in order to protect the jobs it says they are taking from Kyrgyzstanis.
According to a report yesterday by Russia’s Novy Region 2 news agency, the Coalition has decided on this step given that ninety percent of the roughly 10,000 foreign workers who have received official permission to come to Kyrgyzstan are from the People’s Republic of China and now occupy jobs Kyrgyzstan citizens could perform (nr2.ru/asia/428109.html).
Timur Saralayev, the head of the Kyrgyzstan group, says that there is a shortage of jobs in his republic which is one of the reasons why so many of his fellow citizens have had to go to the Russian Federation and elsewhere to find work. But that makes the appearance of 9,000 ethnic Chinese in their country even more unbearable.
“We are opponents of the defenselessness of the domestic labor market and therefore are proposing that the government take steps to resolve this problem.” Chinese workers, he says, represent a special problem because they “absolutely do not know either the state language [Kyrgyz] or even more the official language [Russian].”
The Coalition has proposed, he adds, that the government fine individuals and firms from 20,000 to 300,000 soms (420 to 6300 US dollars) who employ Chinese workers who do not know Kyrgyz or Russian and fine Chinese workers who violate migration rules6,000 to 12,000 soms (140 to 280 US dollars).
Saralayev notes that his group has sought support in the parliament and in the administration but so far without success. And he added that the group’s proposals not only “do not contradict the laws of the country” but are “much more democratic and soft than those in other countries. To change thatthe Coalition is seeking support among NGOs and experts.
During the troubles that accompanied the last change of government in Bishkek, protesters attacked Chinese businesses there, but this is a Saralayev’s group shows that tensions between the indigenous population of that Central Asian country and the Chinese have not eased but rather deteriorated still further, a trend that likely presages more conflict ahead.
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