A view of Kazakhstan's Altynkol rail hub on the Kazakh side of the Kazakhstan-Chinese border, with the Dzhungar Alatau mountain range. (Photo: Amduaziz Madyarov/AFP via Getty Images)
Kazakhstan seeks to ban sales of land along its borders
By Naubet Bisenov
The Kazakh government is seeking to ban sales of land along the country’s borders, returning to an issue that triggered mass protests three years ago.
The proposed legislation would bar both foreigners and locals from buying any land in all districts bordering China and in a 25 kilometer-wide strip adjacent to Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, according to Gulzhakhan Bimendina, chairwoman of the Agriculture Ministry’s committee for managing land resources.
In a push in 2016 to attract investment and kickstart an economy battered by a banking crisis, the Kazakh government sought to allow sales of farmland and extend the lease of farmland by foreigners from 10 to 25 years.
Those proposals led to nationwide protests, fueled by concerns that China would take over border areas. To quell the unrest, the government imposed a five-year moratorium on sales of farmland.