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Police arrest a protester in the city of Nur-Sultan. September 21, 2019. REUTERS / Mukhtar Kholdorbekov

Several anti-Chinese demonstrations were held this Saturday in Kazakhstan, leading to the arrest of dozens of people in several cities of the former Soviet republic of Central Asia to the authoritarian regime.

With our correspondent in Tblissi , Régis Genté

These rallies denounce the growing importance of the Chinese neighbor in Kazakhstan's economy, amid dissatisfaction with the national government and poor redistribution of oil wealth.

The banners read " End of the Chinese expansion " or " No to Chinese companies ", despite the dozens of industrial entities opened by Beijing in Kazakhstan in recent years, and the 55 projects under development. , for investments of about 25 billion euros, in sectors such as oil and gas, agriculture or transport.

But part of Kazakhstan's society is critical of its power, against a backdrop of a slowing economy due to the drop in oil prices after 2014.

The "diplomacy of the debt trap"

A context that only feeds the old fantasies of yellow peril in Kazakhstan, risk of dependence on this gigantic rising power, for fear of being a victim of the " diplomacy of the debt trap ", Beijing having as a habit of lending billions and seizing strategic assets the day a country is no longer able to repay the deadlines.

The former Soviet republic would have a debt of more than 10 billion euros to China, contracted especially in the development of new silk roads promoted by Xi Jinping.