By Aizat Shailoobek Kyzy
This paper investigates how Chinese migrants are perceived by different groups in Kyrgyzstan—and in what domains local people turn to Sinophobia. To date, Kyrgyzstani political leaders have tended to be Sinophilic, whereas bazaar traders and ordinary citizens, fearing large inflows of Chinese migrants, are Sinophobic. The article paints a picture of Chinese migrants’ lives in Bishkek and their negative and positive experiences with local people. It concludes by demonstrating that lay people and radical nationalist groups alike deploy Sinophobic rhetoric in relation to China and Chinese immigrants living in Kyrgyzstan.
Keywords: Sinophobia; Discrimination; Kyrgyz nationalists; Chinese migrants; Conspiracy theories