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Kyrgyz Vow Probe After Chinese Mine Workers Beaten

Local residents protested against the gold mine on August 27.
Local residents protested against the gold mine on August 27.
BISHKEK -- The Kyrgyz government has promised a thorough investigation after three Chinese workers were beaten during a recent protest against a Chinese gold-mining project in the north of the country, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev made the pledge following a special government session held today to discuss the August 26 incident in Naryn Province.

Atambaev stated at the session that investors' security should be guaranteed and secured. He also urged the government to make more transparent the process of granting licenses to foreign companies to operate in Kyrgyzstan.

On August 26, some 300 people gathered outside the headquarters of the Chinese-operated Solton-Sary gold, assaulted three policemen who tried to persuade them to disperse, and beat three Chinese mine employees.

The protest was the latest in a series of demonstrations in recent months against Chinese companies operating in Kyrgyzstan.

Chinese Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Wang Kaiwen told journalists in Bishkek earlier today that unnamed political groups may be behind recent protests against "foreign investors."

Wang noted that some protesters demand that the licenses given to Chinese companies working in the mining sector be withdrawn. He argued that investors' interests should be taken into account as well. Wang expressed concern at what he termed the "poor protection of foreign investors' interests in Kyrgyzstan."

Residents taking part in the recent protests have complained that Chinese workers in the mining sector are taking jobs from locals.

Read more in Kyrgyz here