Monday, August 29, 2016

Caucasus Report

Georgians Protest Growing Chinese Presence

Georgian media and individual politicians have for several years expressed concern that Chinese immigrants are flooding into the country. (file photo)
Georgian media and individual politicians have for several years expressed concern that Chinese immigrants are flooding into the country. (file photo)
The parties aligned in Georgia’s National Front staged a small protest on February 24 against a planned free-economic zone in Tbilisi that will be owned by China’s Hualing Industry and Trade Group.

More than 50 protesters demanded that the agreement signed last summer between Hualing and the previous Georgian government be made public and that the new government impose restrictions on the number of Chinese entering Georgia to work there.

The Xinjiang-based Hualing Group is privately owned and has been active in Georgia since 2006. It is engaged in lumbering and the quarrying of marble in western Georgia.

It opened a free-industrial zone in 2009 in Kutaisi, Georgia’s second-largest city, and last year it acquired the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s 90 percent stake in Georgia’s BasisBank for approximately $100 million. 

Its planned free-economic zone in Tbilisi will reportedly comprise a hotel, commercial premises, rental housing for Chinese workers, storage facilities, a recreation area, and a customs post. 

The Hualing Group is only one of several major Chinese investors in Georgia. The first, according to Liu Bo, an official at the Chinese Embassy in Tbilisi, was the Sichuan Electric Power Corporation, a 100 percent subsidiary of the State Grid Corporation of China, which invested some $34 million into the construction of a major hydroelectric power station in eastern Georgia. 

In 2011, the Chong Qing Wan Li Lian Xing Group, an auto-parts manufacturer, acquired a license to mine for copper and gold, while in 2010, a Georgian-Chinese consortium won the tender for the construction of a Tbilisi railway bypass.

One of the objections the Tbilisi protesters raised was that a further influx of Chinese labor would compound unemployment among Georgians. The official unemployment rate is 16 percent, although the true figure is believed by many to be at least twice that.

Nonetheless, according to Liu Bo, a year ago just 2,000 Chinese were employed in Georgia prior to the signing of the Tbilisi economic-zone agreement; that project, he added, would create jobs for some 1,500 more.

For the past several years, however, Georgian media and individual politicians have expressed concern that Chinese immigrants are flooding into Georgia.

For example, a senior staffer at the Institute of Sociology and Demography estimated the number of Chinese in Georgia at between 50,000 and 60,000, the Caucasus Press reported on July 7, 2007.

The same news agency on August 4, 2007, quoted former President Eduard Shevardnadze as telling the weekly "Mteli kvira" that there were 40,000 Chinese in Tbilisi alone.

Those estimates, if accurate, would suggest a huge number of illegal immigrants in addition to those employed within the framework of the major investment projects. 

That number may have since peaked, however. In 2009, senior Georgian Foreign Ministry official Paata Papuashvili said the number of Chinese entering Georgia had fallen. He said there were just 300 Chinese in Georgia, on one-year visas, most of them employed in stores or restaurants.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Neal from: Kutaisi
February 26, 2013 18:35
It's worth noting that the Free Industrial Zone in Kutaisi employs over 1700 Georgians and plans to hire 800 more this year. See
In Response

by: William wang from: USA
February 27, 2013 18:21
That is total yellow peril rubbish. China is going to be number 1 for the 21st century. So please get used to it! Whether u like it or not china is going to be the superpower!! The west is going down!
In Response

by: Anonymous from: USA
February 28, 2013 00:22
Going down where? There are 315 million people in the US alone. The West isn't going anywhere. We'll still be here in A.D. 2100! Besides, with the US being less than 250 years old we are yet to hit our stride.
In Response

by: Shota from: New York
March 01, 2013 20:13
Willy Wang would be better advised to consider the serious ecological and demographic problems confronting the Fat Cats in Beijing in the 21st century. Since Chinese politicians are essentially corrupt and can see only yuen bill notes, this does not bode well for any long-term development. The West is not down, nor will it ever be. If the Chinese think otherwise, they are dreaming opium dreams as they did in the 19th century.

by: Aftab Kazi from: Washington DC
March 02, 2013 05:27
Development needs money, which comes from foreign investments. Georgia would had been worst, had Chinese not invested and created jobs, at least some jobs for Georgians. Development and investments also mean migrations to some point. Chinese are everywhere, so are Indians, and many other people in almost every country in the world. Often some politicians and vested interests have aired such issues for individual personal or exploited them for local and/or otherwise interests. Should Georgia ban Chinese entry, losing investments, which, under the world financial crisis no other country/corporation is willing to make. Western corporations also calculate stability/instability issues when investing. With a 16 percent or perhahs more unemployment, Georgians be happy that at least China is investing, offering at least some respite to domestic issues, which otherwise can exacerbate. With kind regards.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
March 05, 2013 21:35
It is Aftab Kazi from Washington DC, your evil focus?
Since archeology history, 11-12 Milleniums already,
Out of heart of Caucasus settlments invited locals,
Cro-Magnon and helped them emerge as nations.
(Till self ran into South-Messophotamia snakes.)

Neanderthal Chaldeans, with the breeding hate,
Betrayed a settlment there, starting the "Sumer"
Than Babilon and pristhood of Antichristic bates,
To suck Caucasian brains and plagiarize for her,
The bitch of Babilon, instigate barbarian empires.

In modern times it is again the Russia - vaulcher.
Two heads - Babilonian bitch and a killer-breeder.
They offered in 1954-56 to British and Germanics
Resurrect colonial empires unleashing genocides
And offerred the rest, the useful, follow the Leader:

To Arabs - forge the Halifat of suplimental Bablon,
Squashing between them and Russia other nations.
To Persha - enspired by "Dariush", A-bombing - on,
Georgia and Israel - for plagiarism and annexations.
To China, enspired by conquest - forget Civilization:

Instead of improving life and restoring China culture,
Follow Gorbachev that gased intelligentia in Georgia,
Kill hunger strike using exploding bullets for vaulcher,
Big comrad Russia - expand for game of its Borgios,
Even smock "Cheremushka" in its own people lungs.

China must not fall for "Gigantism" and to breed-out,
Better improve China's land and its own life in China.
Help other nations prudently, not lead by Russian gut
Into Babilonian Antichrist killing and enslaving "Christ"
For imperial Russia plot to repopulate West and East.

Khrutchev said: - "What an exclusivety for Georgians?
Who give them right to have presentable appearance?
We all, Soviet People, must look like Russ - pig-noses.
We'll kill a third of them, sending third to die in Siberias,
Plagiarize by nerve gas rest and breed in their houses!"
In Response

by: Aftab Kazi from: Washington DC
March 07, 2013 04:01
Konstantin, did I call you or Georgia bad names or so? Your boring and dirty minded poetry neither makes you a poet no a commentator, but a crazy chauvinist. Mindsets like you, have already made a political mess in Georgia.That is called evil, not my comment.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
March 07, 2013 08:07
Did I call you or your "inuendo-Muslem" name by bad names?
My comments neither dirty, as your breeding-race patalogic hate
Of Larger populations to breed-out to extintion smaller nations,
Like genocide-breed Russia and Adyga in Abkhazia main,
Nor I write poetry, nor boring. Short line - it got your vain!

If "Chauvinist" would apply, it would be you. Wrong word,
Thought, Lenin used it as priviledge of Germano-Russian,
In name of "Great breeding in other nations property" hors
And pretending be "Mr. Higgins", mentoring a "Flower Girl".
Stalin confronted Lenin. Lenin reneged for a "more noble".

Chauvinist is too light for genocide of faster breeding ords,
Like Russia and following mentality "Great halifat" wording,
To kill a third, to die in camp a third and plagiarize the best
Remainder of smaller nations, adding excuse - insinuating
As "Exclusive intelligent eyes" insult "Great Race" breeding.

It's Russia that made mess in non-Russian countries, Kazi,
Still playing Russian arrogance of aggressor? What bit you?
What got your vain? Are you another GRU oboroten', craizy?
Who also can you be? Not so misguided Caucasian youth?

Are you a soul, killed by GRU for leaving to "babushka" home,
In country side, not to bow to Rashkas - believing after death
That races of Russians, Arabs and Chinese must be Greater
Through conquests-breedings in smaller countries they won?
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
March 27, 2013 06:46

By the way, the accident is small thing,
However, it looks like even smallest one
Serve Russian policy of expaning their net.
Like in old times - Lenin and Dzerginsky guns
In behind of nations, tickling them as Russian bets,
Wheather it'is China Olimpics - Georgian Osetia invade,
Or this argument - a new Russia-China strategic pacts,
While they close on us Freedom of Speech - silence.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.