You are, no doubt, already aware of the unrest in Kyrgyzstan:
After three days of ethnic rioting that spread across the south of this strategically important Central Asian nation, many streets in this city lay in smoldering ruins on Sunday night.
The official death toll rose to more than 100, and thousands of refugees poured across the border into Uzbekistan as the authorities were unable to contain the murderous mobs.
Whole sections of Osh, where longstanding tensions between the Kyrgyz majority and the Uzbek minority exploded into violence Thursday night, were all but deserted on Sunday, and heavy black smoke still billowed from Uzbek enclaves set afire by Kyrgyz gangs.
Heavily armed police officers guarded intersections, and troops patrolled in tracked artillery vehicles, but few pedestrians or motorists were visible.
Readers may also be aware that the Kyrgyz government has asked both the United States and Russia for military aid and rubber bullets to quell what is beginning to sound like a genocide. Washington apparently turned them down outright, and Russia is holding out for the approval of other local powers before deploying troops.
Unlike Russia, China actually borders Kyrgyzstan. As far as I’m aware, Kyrgyzstan hasn’t asked them for aid, but an email from a friend of mine this morning raised some interesting questions I thought I would pass on to you all. Here’s part of his email:
“[…] AP is reporting more than 75,000 ethnic Uzbek refugees have fled the country as mobs of Kyrgyz men attack their villages and slaughter the inhabitants. The city of Osh, which is the country’s second-largest and heavily Uzbek, has apparently largely been destroyed. It’s being to sound vaguely like genocide, and the government says it can’t quell the disturbances on its own. Russia says it won’t send troops, but maybe China would? China is interested in Central Asian energy resources and China and Kyrgyzstan are both in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.”
China would certainly be hesitant to deploy military resources of any kind outside its own borders, given that the fact that they’ve never done that before (which, of course, isn’t true) is part of the domestic propaganda narrative (after all, only imperialist countries invade other countries). Still, they certainly could help, and if the Kyrgyz government needs help, why shouldn’t they? It might be in their own interests, as my friend suggests above, but more to the point, it seems like the right thing to do.
However, what with preparing for the move in a couple days I have not been following this story too closely, so I leave the analysis to you. Thoughts?