Saturday, September 30, 2023

China replaces the executor of the Xinjiang crackdown

Chen Quanguo, head of the Communist Party in the region, has been replaced following international complaints about abuses against Uyghurs.

China replaces the executor of the Xinjiang crackdown
Policemen patrol a street in the city of Kashgar, in the Muslim region of Xinjiang. / REUTERS

Following strong criticism from the West for the crackdown on the Uighur ethnic group, which has even led to US sanctions and a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the Chinese regime has replaced the head of the Communist Party in the turmoil Muslim region of Xinjiang, Chen Quanguo. Without giving details, the state agency Xinhua reported on Saturday that he was being replaced by Ma Xingrui, who since 2017 has been the party’s top official in the industrial province of Guangzhou.

Despite this common lack of information, everything indicates that the change is due to the international campaign against China over the abuses in Xinjiang, where the UN and human rights activists estimate that one million Uyghurs have been locked up in re-education camps to prevent jihadist terrorism. Although Beijing denied their existence at first, it later claimed that they were vocational schools and said a million people had passed through them but announced that all “students” had “graduated” by the end of 2019.

According to subsequent investigations, the re-education camps continue to function and some are even part of the forced labor system of which the Chinese regime has been accused. For these alleged abuses, US President Joe Biden signed a law last week that bans imports from Xinjiang. In addition, the Commerce Department imposed restrictions on 30 Chinese research institutes and the Treasury Department blacklisted eight entities for human rights violations.

A ‘police state’

For all this repression, Chen Quanguo, 66, is considered responsible, or at least the executioner, subject to international sanctions. Hailing from Tibet, he came to Xinjiang in 2016, where he has built a “police state” to keep Uighurs under control. Secret documents leaked to ‘The New York Times’ suggest that the orders came from the top of the regime. Last month, German investigator Adrian Zenz directly pointed to President Xi Jinping as the main culprit.


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