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Charting China’s growing influence in the region
Beijing, China: China Southern flight bound for Tashkent filled with Chinese and Uzbek businessmen and tourists.
Osh, Kyrgyzstan: Female Kyrgz traders at the Osh Bazaar. In the background are shipping containers which serve as store fronts.
Tashkent, Uzbekistan: A young Uzbek university student gives an impassioned speech entitled “My China Dream” as part of the annual “Chinese Bridge” (or han yu qiao) a Chinese language proficiency competition.
Khorgas, Kazakhstan: A Sinooil petrol station near the Khorgas Border Pass with China which is a key trade route between the two countries.
Osh, Kyrgyzstan: A money changer hangs up the currency rates of the day. The Chinese renminbi is a common business currency after the US dollar and Russian ruble in Osh which is a major trade centre for the region.
Tashkent, Uzbekistan: China Restaurant, a less-than-exciting name is one of three Chinese restaurants in the city. The owner is a Tianjin businessman who specializes in northern cuisine.
Southern Corridor highway, Kyrgyzstan: Trucks carrying coal in Chinese-made trucks along the Southern Corridor highway on the way to the Irshketam Border Pass with China. It is one of the key trade routes from China into the region.
Jalalabad, Kyrgyzstan: Uzbek students study Mandarin at a Confucius centre in Jalalabad University which has paired up with Xinjiang Normal University.
Tashkent, Uzbekistan: UzChina Trade House is a company that helps facilitate Uzbek businesses in China with offices in Urumqi and Guangzhou. The biggest event in China for Uzbek traders has to be the annual Canton Fair.
Almaty, Kazakhstan: Barakholka Bazaar is the largest and busiest trade bazaar in Kazakhstan and one of the largest in the regions. Like almost all bazaars in the region, traders carry mainly Chinese-made goods, mixed with products from Turkey, Russian and Iran.
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: The Chinese government donated more than 50 Chinese-made public buses in 2009. Each bus has a China flag and China Aid logo on the side, and the words “Chinese-Kyrgyz Friendship Bus” written in Chinese and Cyrillic.
Tashkent, Uzbekistan: A businessman from Xinjiang province holding up bundles of Uzbek som after a recent sale of suits to a Uzbek customer. He was traveling with a business delegation supported by the Xinjiang government.
Osh, Kyrgyzstan: A Kyrgz man pays for his purchases of Chinese-made denim clothing from a trader couple from Zhejiang province in China. They have been working in Osh since 2005 and stayed on in Kyrgyzstan even after the Uzbek-Krygz riots which broke out in 2010. “Business has been bad since now that all the Uzbek traders have left,” they lamented.
Almaty, Kazakhstan: A Chinese teacher from Al-Farabi Kazakh National University’s Confucius centre shows off a framed photograph of the China Pavilion for the Shanghai World Expo held in 2010.
Southern Corridor highway, Kyrgyzstan: An outpost of the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) responsible for repaving the Southern Transport Corridor highway from Osh through Sary Tash to the Irshketam Border Pass with China.
Osh, Kyrgyzstan: The Kara-Suu bazaar in Osh is a major trade hub for Chinese-made goods to flow through, especially via the Irshketam Border Pass. Here, Kyrgyz workers load up flat screen televisions to be shipped out.