Chinese Web sites claim that Kazakhstan is really part of China and that the virus was created in a Kazakh laboratory. The Chinese ambassador is involved.
by Turarbek Kusainov
An article with the strange title, “Why does Kazakhstan want to join China?”, was published on the Chinese sites Sina.com and Sohu.com. It included sentences such as, “Many Kazakh tribes swore allegiance to the Chinese emperor,” “Kazakhstan was historically a part of China,” and “Although the Chinese invaded Kazakh land many times, the Kazakhs did not protest,” which shocked Kazakh society.
Human rights activist Serikzhan Bilash was the first to criticize the article as a distortion of historical truth. After Bilash exposed the cunning plan of China, the Kazakh society was outraged, and the Kazakh press sounded the alarm. Only at this stage, the first Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, Shahrat Nuryshev, called on the Chinese ambassador Zhang Xiao and sent a note of protest to China on April 14. On April 18, the article was removed by the Web sites, and the CCP claimed that it did not correspond to the Party’s official position, and the authors will be punished for “narrow-minded nationalism.” Although this was an important milestone in Chinese-Kazakh relations, questions remained on why did Kazakhstan only this time send a note of protest against a high-profile article in the Chinese web sites. What is the political background here?
This is not the first time the Chinese sites Sina.com and Sohu.com have offended Kazakhs. In 2010, Hu Hongbao, a member of the Writers’ Union of China and the vice-rector of the China Institute of Socialism, published an insulting article about the Kazakhs. He wrote that, “Kazakhs especially love the Chinese, they want to spend the night in a Chinese house, and at night they put a girl or woman in the arms of a Chinese.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan did not object to the article published on the two sites, which normally express the point of view of the Chinese communist authorities, and did not want to cast a shadow over the diplomacy between the two countries. Only a small group, led by Serikzhan Bilash, went to Beijing to protest. As a result of this visit, under pressure from the leaders of the Institute of Socialism, the web sites removed the sensational article by Hu Hongbao, and the problem seemed to be resolved.
There were several other incidents evidencing a clear disrespect by the CCP for the sovereignty of the Republic of Kazakhstan, its laws, and the rights of its citizens. For example, in the early years of independence, Kazakhstan adopted a special migration law to repatriate Kazakhs abroad. Within the framework of this law, it was decided not to prevent the free migration of Kazakhs returning from Xinjiang to Kazakhstan. In 2016, Chinese authorities confiscated Kazakh passports in Xinjiang, and in 2017, ethnic Kazakhs living there were sent to the transformation through education camps, which are in fact concentration camps. Most of those who ended up in the camps had visited Kazakhstan at least once, had contacted Kazakh residents by phone, and were in the process of obtaining Kazakh citizenship with a residence permit. Even full-fledged citizens of Kazakhstan, who traveled to China to visit relatives or on business, were arrested and sent to the camps.
China has not returned yet several citizens of Kazakhstan to their country. Thousands of victims of Chinese concentration camps turned to the Foreign Ministry and the Prosecutor General. About 500 “orphans” and “widows,” whose parents and husbands are detained in the camps, were left without a breadwinner. The Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan, confronted with a serious offense of the interests of Kazakhstan and its citizens, did not even send a note of protest to China. It should be noted that, during the mass repressions against the Kazakhs in Xinjiang, Shahrat Nuryshev, the current First Deputy Foreign Minister, was the ambassador of Kazakhstan to China (2015–2019). Such a difficult situation of Kazakhstan, which bowed to China rather than protesting, is described in detail in my book Gloom: Sunset on East Turkestan, whose English translation has been published by Bitter Winter.
The constant intervention of Chinese Ambassador Zhang Xiao in the Kazakh government efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus, and his harsh remarks and disrespectful speeches when meeting with the Kazakh press, could be the basis for sending a note of protest to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. I sent a letter about these incidents to Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokaev and other authorities. The letter stated that the Chinese ambassador should be expelled from Kazakhstan. In response, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said that this case is under investigation.
Despite all this, the CCP has not stopped spreading malicious information to Kazakhstan. Another slander is that, “A malignant virus was prepared in a laboratory in Almaty and delivered to Wuhan.” This fake news is now widely circulated. There are serious suspicions that the Chinese ambassador to Kazakhstan, Zhang Xiao, was personally involved in creating the false information that the malignant virus spread from a laboratory in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Over the past ten years, we have observed at least 3–4 serious incidents that deliberately damaged the state interests of Kazakhstan, which would have been the basis for the submission of notes of protest. Before the last territorial claims made a protest unavoidable, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan did not take timely action against any of them. Many questions, no answers.