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Beijing to prosecute former Xinjiang editor

Zhao Xinwei is alleged to have questioned China's ethnic and security policies. Photo: People's daily, China  

China will prosecute the former editor-in-chief of the official Communist Party publication in the violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang on charges of corruption after he queried ethnic and security policies, the paper said on Monday.

Hundreds of people have died in the last few years in Xinjiang unrest blamed by the government on Islamist militants.

Rights groups and exiles say controls on the religion and culture of the Muslim Uighur people who call the region home are more to blame for the violent outbreaks. China denies any such repression takes place.

Zhao Xinwei had run the Xinjiang Daily until he was put under investigation in May for suspected “serious discipline breaches”, a term that generally refers to graft.

An investigation has found that Mr. Zhao “improperly discussed” party policies in Xinjiang and “publicly made comments in opposition” to how the party conducted itself in the region, the newspaper said in a terse front page report.

“(His) words and deeds were not in line with the centre or regional party committee,” it added, citing infringements over issues of principle such as opposition to separatism, “violent terrorism” and religious extremism, but did not elaborate. The party bars overt dissent by members on key issues, maintaining a firm line that state media never question.

New discipline rules unveiled last month ban “baseless comments” on major policies. Mr. Zhao’s case underscores China’s tough media controls in Xinjiang, said Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for exile group the World Uyghur Congress.

“The media has to push China’s hostile propaganda against the Uighurs and make excuses for repression,” he added. The investigation further found that Mr. Zhao abused his position, squandered public funds, took gifts and embezzled money, the report said.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 5:43:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/beijing-to-prosecute-former-xinjiang-editor/article7834301.ece

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