China’s appointment of new Xinjiang chief will not change repression of Uyghurs

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China has appointed the governor of coastal Guangdong province as the new Communist Party secretary of its far-western Xinjiang region, replacing Chen Quanguo, considered the architect of the brutal crackdown on Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.

Ma Xingrui, 62, who has governed economically dynamic Guangdong since 2017, will become party chief of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the official Xinhua news agency said Dec. 25.

Chen, 66, has been in his current position since August 2016 and has been accused by the West of spearheading the repressive policies and severe human rights abuses against the 12 million Uyghurs who live in Xinjiang.

During his stint as Xinjiang’s party chief, China built up a network of detention camps in which as many as 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities have been held since 2017 in the name of preventing religious extremism and terrorism.
 

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