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International relations

Kazakhstan-China deportation case sparks trial of public opinion

Kazakhs demand Astana protect woman who exposed Beijing's 'state secrets'

ZHARKENT, Kazakhstan -- The trial of an ethnic Kazakh woman from China on charges of illegally crossing the border between the countries has become a major headache for the government in Astana, which finds itself caught between Beijing and its own public.

China is demanding that the woman, Sayragul Sauytbay, be deported back to China, where her lawyer believes she would face the death penalty for exposing "state secrets" concerning "re-education camps" for Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang. The case is feeding anti-Chinese sentiment in Kazakhstan and, depending on the result, could spark widespread protests.

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