China fires Xinjiang party chief

The unpopular provincial party chief Wang Lequan of trouble-prone Xinjiang was replaced by moderate Zhang Chunxian as the party chief of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, according to Communist Party of China Central Committee, state run Xinhua news agency reported.

Observers say Wang’s hardline policies against the ethnic Uyghur majority had led to major riots last July that also left 1,700 injured.
No immediate reason was given for replacing 65-year-old Wang, who served as the party boss in Xinjiang for 15 years.

The outgoing provincial chief, regarded as a loyalist of President Hu Jintao was made deputy secretary of the powerful Political and Legislative Affairs Committee of the CPC Central Committee, which oversees the top administrative apparatus in the country.

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