Ethnic Tensions and China's Headaches

Over at China in Central Asia, I had the opportunity to detail the ways ethnic strife have lingered in southern Kyrgyzstan, and the potential ramifications that China may encounter with its continued geopolitical expansion:

But people in southern Kyrgyzstan have other realities they want to discuss. Mamadaliev readily admits that Chinese has supplanted Russian as one of the three languages worth learning. But the conversation inevitably shifts back to 2010, to the aftermath and the legacy of the pogroms unleashed that summer. It isn’t China’s economic potential that keeps Mamadaliev concerned for the futures of his three young daughters. It isn’t Beijing’s regional pull on which people in Jalalabad and Osh dwell. As the seemingly zero-sum world of Chinese and Russian hegemony in Central Asia continues, this festering and unaddressed situation may well stand as China’s headache moving forward. The legacy of 2010 remains a local problem China will find itself having to help manage – one of the thornier, and largely overlooked, issues to come alongside Beijing’s rising power in Central Asia.