Long-time Xinjiang official promoted to central committee

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 July, 2013, 6:46am

Beijing has promoted a local official to the Xinjiang Communist Party's central committee in the wake of ethnic violence that has rocked the region.

Li Xuejun, 52, who was formerly the party chief of Yili Kazak autonomous prefecture, is a Han Chinese who has spent most of his career in the restive region since 1977, the regional government reported yesterday. Li worked in the region's finance office from 1980 to 2006.

In November 2006, he was named party secretary of Changji prefecture, and transferred to Yili in July 2011.

A series of bloody clashes in the region in the past several months have killed at least 56 people.

Local authorities classified most of the incidents as "terrorist attacks".

Security in the regional capital Urumqi was tightened this month during the fourth anniversary of ethnic clashes that killed nearly 200 local Uygurs and Han migrants.

The Xinjiang party chief, Zhang Chunxian, met 50 grass-roots officials on Friday, calling on cadres to bring stability to the region.

Jiang Zhaoyong, a Beijing-based expert on minority affairs, said Li's promotion was a sign that the authorities wanted to use local officials to help stabilise the region.

"Local officials understand more about the religious culture and economic development of the region than those who are transferred from other provinces," Jiang said.