Among its Central Asian neighbors, China these days is more often feared than loved. This attitude is perhaps most apparent in Kyrgyzstan, where despite an overwhelming dependence on Chinese imports, Chinese-owned malls and mining pits have been the subject of attacks in recent years; nationalist editorials in the local press play on fears of the Middle Kingdom. But all the negative press isn’t deterring Beijing’s efforts to win friends and promote Chinese culture in the region.
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Chris Rickleton is a Bishkek-based journalist.