As China rises as an economic and military power, so does its reach beyond its borders. China's influence is expanding in ways that shape the policies of governments and touch the lives of ordinary citizens in neighboring countries. China offers the promise of growth and a more-connected Asia, but brings with it fears of Chinese dominance.
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The Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan, has launched the first trials of an app that allows commuters to pay for bus tickets through facial-recognition technology. The system relies on cameras supplied by Hikvision, one of the Chinese companies recently sanctioned by Washington over its alleged role in human rights abuses.
China’s “New Silk Road” is a multibillion dollar project, linking it to European markets via a corridor of trade and investment across Central Asia. Kazakhstan is a major partner, and the two countries speak glowingly of their cooperation. But beneath the veneer of warm words, corruption, bureaucracy, and old antipathies sometimes get in the way, according to a report by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL).