“Kyrgyzstan is becoming Chinese,” the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily published the article with this title, which tells that Beijing delivers not only investments, but also migrants in the republic.
It was reported recently that China can implement one more major infrastructure project in Kyrgyzstan, the newspaper reported. Kyrgyz Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev instructed to begin negotiations with the company Tebian Electric Apparatus Stock Co (TBEA) over the modernization of the Bishkek thermal power plant. Now an oil refinery and power lines are being built in the republic on Chinese investments. China has already invested over one billion dollars in Kyrgyz economy.
The Bishkek thermal power plant, which was commissioned in 1961, is the largest power generating capacity in northern Kyrgyzstan. After the breakup of the Soviet Union the enterprise plunged in a recession. Initially the thermal power plant could generate 666 MW per hour, but now its maximum power generating level makes only 270 MW. The Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reported the equipment at this strategic facility is depreciated by 85%.
China makes most investments in the Kyrgyz infrastructure. Each new year China’s presence in the Kyrgyz economy is becoming more tangible. The Chinese mining companies are developing the deposits, the Chinese workers are building a road to the Issyk-Kul Lake and are building plants and factories.
The Bishkek thermal power plant will be modernized by the company TBEA, if the sides sign an agreement in autumn. This is far from being the first major project, which China can fulfil in Kyrgyzstan. For instance, TBEA is already modernizing the power lines in the south of the country, is building and reconstructing the electric power substations and is building the Datka-Kemin power line.
This autumn one more Chinese project should be put in practice, as the construction of an oil refinery in Kara-Balta in northern Kyrgyzstan is closing to an end. China Petrol Company Zhongda is implementing the project. The design capacity of the oil refinery is 850,000 tonnes of oil. Kyrgyzstan almost does not produce oil, therefore, the raw materials for the oil refinery are planned to deliver by railway from Kazakhstan and Russia.
After putting on the full capacity the oil refinery is expected to provide from 40% to 65% of Kyrgyzstan’s demand in fuel and lubricants, thus bringing down the country’s dependence on the fuel supplies from Russia.
One more Chinese project that is the construction of a China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway has probably stuck deeply at the stage of negotiations and the search for a source of financing.
It is symptomatic that the projects, which China is implementing in Kyrgyzstan, are linked with the infrastructure or the production and delivery of the natural resources from the region to China, the newspaper noted.
The above mentioned threat of Chinese expansion is not just empty words, the newspaper believes. The number of Chinese citizens keeps growing in the country every year. No one knows their exact number, as the numerical strength of the Chinese diaspora makes from 80,000 to 300,000 people in a 6-million-populated Kyrgyzstan. It is difficult from a Chinese immigrant to get Kyrgyz citizenship officially, but the problem is settled by means of bribes or the use of false marriages.