Sat, 16 Nov 2019

AQTOBE, Kazakhstan -- A Kazakh activist has been sentenced to 15 days in jail in the northwestern city of Aqtobe for staging a protest against what he called China's expansion.

The Aqtobe Regional Court said on November 8 that Alibek Moldin had been sentenced a day earlier after a court found him guilty of violating regulations for public gatherings and disobedience to police.

Moldin held a single-person picket in front of the Aqtobe city administration on November 3, holding a poster that read: 'No to Chinese expansion.' He also chanted: 'Kazakhs, wake up!'

Anti-Chinese sentiment in Kazakhstan has been on the rise amid reports over the plight of indigenous ethnic groups, including Kazakhs, in China's northwestern region of Xinjiang.

The United Nations said last year that an estimated 1 million ethnic Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking indigenous people of Xinjiang were being held in what it described as 'counterextremism centers' in the province, with millions more reportedly sent to internment camps.

Meanwhile, Kazakh officials are said to be moving ahead on a proposal to build 55 industrial facilities with Chinese financing, furthering fears of corruption, undue Chinese influence, and excessive reliance on Chinese investment.

Moldin was also charged with insulting women with many children online, which he and his supporters deny, calling the criminal case against him politically motivated.

The trial on that charge is pending.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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