China replaces Uyghur genocide-linked Communist Party leader in Xinjiang province

China replaces Uyghur genocide-linked Communist Party leader in Xinjiang province
1 min read
29 December, 2021
Chen Quanguo had been head of the Communist Party in the Xinjiang region, where Beijing stands accused of committing genocide against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim groups
Chen Quanguo could be in line for a promotion, certain China watchers believe [Getty-archive]

A senior Chinese leader commonly linked with Beijing's repression of Turkic Muslim groups in China's Xinjiang province has been replaced.

Chen Quanguo became head of the communist party in Xinjiang province in 2016. He led the party while security forces rounded up hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and others and placed them in re-education centres or forced labour camps.

Around 1 million Turkic Muslims, including Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz are held across hundreds of facilities across their home province, according to the UN, as part of what Beijing claims is its fight against terror. Some Uyghurs have also been forcibly sterilised, a crime amounting to genocide, human rights groups and the US State Department have said.

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Chen will be replaced by Ma Xingrui, 62, who has governed Guandong province for the last four years, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.

Chen, who was sanctioned by the US in 2020, is among 24 other members of his country's exclusive politburo, the body which guides the ruling communists' policy programme.

Some China watchers believe the 66-year-old could receive a promotion at the Communist Party of China congress next year, according to The Guardian.

Chen had previously led the party in Tibet, where he oversaw a crackdown on dissidents.