Xinjiang (northwest) has long been hit by bloody attacks, targeting civilians in particular and attributed to separatists or Uyghur Islamists. The region is now under strict surveillance.
Chen Quanguo, a former soldier, was since August 2016 the highest Communist official in this territory, which is three times as large as France.
It was after his arrival that information emerged indicating an archipelago of
camps in the region that Beijing initially denied.
66-year-old Chen Quanguo
no longer occupies his duties, the official China New News Agency announced on Saturday, which did not specify the reason for the replacement or the future assignment of Mr. Chen.
Xinjiang is now at its head Ma Xingrui, who until then ruled the province of Guangdong (south), of which Canton is the capital.
The announcement comes a few days after new sanctions by Washington against Chinese companies accused of violating fundamental rights in Xinjiang.
As such, Chen Quanguo has been targeted since 2020 by US sanctions.
Western studies, based on interpretations of official Chinese documents, testimonies of alleged victims and statistical extrapolations accuse the Chinese authorities of repression against the Uyghurs.
According to human rights associations, more than a million people in Xinjiang are or have been locked up in political re-education centers.
Beijing disputes this figure and speaks of vocational training centers intended to remove
Prior to his post in Xinjiang, Chen Quanguo had served as secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Tibet between 2011 and 2016. He stood out there for restoring order after protests and a series of self-immolations by Buddhist monks.
In 2017, he became a member of the Political Bureau ofPCC, the 25-member body that runs China: a promotion then widely seen as a reward for the stability found in Xinjiang.
The appointment of a new official in this strategic region of China came on Christmas Day. Beijing generally takes the holidays at this time in the West to dispatch sensitive business.