China / Politics

New Xinjiang chief sees growth ahead

By Cui Jia (China Daily) Updated: 2016-08-30 07:27

Chen Quanguo, former Party chief of the Tibet autonomous region, has replaced Zhang Chunxian, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party, as the top official of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, the central government announced on Monday.

"Xinjiang's works are especially important to China, so I feel proud and a heavy responsibility on my shoulders," Chen said on Monday.

He added that he is confident of ensuring Xinjiang's stability and continued development.

Zhang, 63, was appointed as the Party chief of Xinjiang in 2010. At that time, the region was still recovering from a deadly riot that hit Urumqi, the regional capital, on July 5, 2009.

He became a member of the Politburo in 2012.

During a meeting announcing the decision on Monday in Urumqi, Zhang thanked the people of Xinjiang for accepting him as their son. The announcement did not list Zhang's new post.

"I have been to every corner of the region and feel excited about the changes I see. I will always love and support Xinjiang," Zhang said.

He had conceded when he was appointed Party chief of Xinjiang that the riot, which left 197 dead and more than 1,700 injured, caused estrangement among people of different ethnic groups. He had said he was determined to fix that, and he chose to live in the Xinjiang Guest House near the traditional ethnic neighborhoods because he wanted to set a good example.

Preventing terrorist activities has been the biggest challenge for top officials in Xinjiang, which has been China's front line in the fight against terrorism.

To help curb the spread of religious extremism, which led to an increasing number of terrorist attacks in the heavily Muslim region, Zhang once said he read many books on the history of Islam and sought advice from religious leaders at home and abroad.

While Zhang is well known for his friendly approach with the media, Chen, 61, was very low-key during his five years in Tibet. During that time, the autonomous region remained stable and achieved high economic growth.

The central government has changed the top officials of three of the China's five autonomous regions in recent days. Wu Yingjie, deputy Party secretary of Tibet, replaced Chen on Sunday and Li Jiheng, former Party chief of Yunnan province, was appointed the new Party chief of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region on Monday.

Also on Monday, Li Jinbin, former governor of Anhui province, was appointed as the new Party chief of Anhui.

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