Former security official takes the helm in Xinjiang

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 January, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 January, 2003, 12:00am

A senior official formerly in charge of law enforcement in Xinjiang Autonomous Region has been named the new chairman of the regional government.

Ismail Tiliwaldi, 59, has replaced Abdulahat Abdurixit as the chairman of the regional government - the equivalent of a provincial governor. Formerly vice-secretary of the Political Science and Law Commission in Xinjiang, Mr Tiliwaldi worked his way up the political ladder in the Kashgar prefecture - an area deemed one of the most turbulent areas on Xinjiang's border.

His appointment is seen as an important sign that Beijing is eager to maintain stability in the region. Beijing used its political leverage to convince the United Nations to add the Xinjiang-based East Turkestan Islamic Movement to a list of terrorist organisations last year.

Before his appointment to the autonomous region's government, Mr Tiliwaldi was also a member of the Communist Party Standing Committee in the Xinjiang Construction and Production Corporation - a huge paramilitary organisation that reports directly to Beijing.

His appointment follows a number of significant moves within the provincial leadership. There has been a trend recently of appointing locally groomed cadres to provincial governors.

They include Jiangsu Governor Liang Baohua, Chongqing Mayor Wang Hongju, Hubei Governor Luo Qingquan and Shandong Governor Han Yuqun.

Analysts expect other locally groomed cadres to soon take up top provincial government posts, such as Meng Xuenong as Beijing mayor, Han Zheng as Shanghai mayor and Huang Huahua as Guangdong governor.

The promotion of Li Keqiang and Li Yuanchao to the positions of party secretary in Henan and Jiangsu, respectively, indicates that proteges of new Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao have already established a stronghold in the provinces.

It is widely expected that Li Chengyu, now Executive Vice-Governor of Henan, will be named Henan governor. Mr Li was head of the Communist Party Youth League in Ningxia in the late 1970s and early 1980s - about the same time when Mr Hu headed the secretariat of the Central Committee of the Youth League in Beijing.

A number of leaders groomed in the Communist Youth League are now provincial party leaders.