The international community is calling for an independent inquiry into the Andijan drama, accusing the Uzbek authorities of numerous human rights violations
Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov has arrived in China on a state visit. This the first country he decided to visit following the brutal suppression of the uprising in Andijan. These days China looks like the best way to go to for Mr. Karimov. Moscow could have been his only alternative.
The international community is calling for an independent inquiry into the Andijan drama while accusing the Uzbek authorities of numerous human rights violations. Only two countries sound out tune with the rest of the world. Both Moscow and Beijing called the events in Andijan “an internal affair of Uzbekistan.”
Mr. Karimov began pushing for “active friendship” with Beijing about two years ago. He was also seeking Moscow's support at the time following the disruption of relations between Uzbekistan and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. In 2002, the EBRD accused Tashkent of committing a number of deplorable things such as human rights violations and the use of torture in prisons. Subsequently, the Uzbek authorities decided to improve relations with those who turn a blind eye to the situation in Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan and Russia signed an agreement on strategic partnership. Now a similar document will be signed in Beijing after the talks with the Chinese leadership.
“It is highly unlikely that Beijing will criticize Mr. Karimov for the way he put down the upheaval in Andijan because the memories of Tiananmen Square are still alive,” Andrei Grozin was quoted as saying to Izvestia. Mr. Grozin is a head of the department for studies of Kazakhstan and Central Asia of the Institute of the CIS Countries. China's stance on the events in Uzbekistan is based primarily on the “Kyrgyz experience.” Beijing is interested in maintaining its positions in Central Asia. “China used Kyrgyzstan as a “model country” of sorts for strengthening its economic influence in Central Asia,” said Mr. Grozin. According to him, the groups that seized power in Kyrgyzstan mostly share the anti-Chinese sentiments and Beijing could not but worry about the situation. China does not want any new “velvet revolutions” in Central Asia.
The West still demands that the Uzbek authorities agree to an independent inquiry and release the human rights activists who tried to call into question the official version of “the Andijan riots.” Meanwhile, Russia and China are busy strengthening their friendship and “counterrevolutionary solidarity” with Uzbekistan.
On the photo: Uzbek President Islam Karimov