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Kyrgyz Government Cancels $275 Million Chinese Project Amid Protests

Local residents have held several protests against the project.

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan's government has announced a decision to cancel a $275 million Chinese investment project in the eastern part of the country following mass protests against it.

The government's press service said on February 24 that the decision to halt the plans to build a major logistics center was made due to protests "by some local residents of the At-Bashi district" in the Naryn region.

According to the press service, steps related to the cancellation of the agreement, which was signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Kyrgyzstan in June 2019, are being taken. This includes annulling a decision to provide 200 hectares of land for the project. The government will return 45 million soms ($645,000) to investors to compensate them for preliminary work, it added.

On February 17, the Kyrgyz-Chinese Ata-Bashi Free Economic Zone Joint Venture said the contract was annulled because "it is not possible to work on a large, long-term project amid circumstances" where part of the local population opposes the construction of the logistics center.

Local residents have held several protests against the project since January.