The Year of the Snake has been full of unpleasant surprises for Chinese living in Kyrgyzstan. Against a backdrop of rising economic nationalism and weak law enforcement, Chinese migrants complain they’re being targeted for robberies and extortion, especially by law-enforcement officers who are supposed to protect them.
Osh, Kyrgyzstan’s southern capital, is calmer than it’s been in ages. The hostile vibe that has prevailed since inter-ethnic rioting in 2010 seems to be slowly dissipating -- evidenced by the fact that Kyrgyz and (some) Uzbeks can be seen strolling in the city’s parks together on weekends.
The detention of three opposition politicians for attempting to storm Kyrgyzstan’s parliament sparked rallies October 4 in Bishkek and in southern Kyrgyzstan. While the immediate fallout has not been as intense as feared, observers still worry the arrests could trigger instability.
The imminent trial of Vladimir Farafonov, an ethnic Russian journalist charged with inciting racial hatred by penning a series of offensive online publications, is fueling debates about chauvinism, due process and press freedom in his native Kyrgyzstan.