China replaces Xinjiang province administrator


People’s Congress of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region appoints Erkin Tuniyaz as acting chairman, replacing Shohrat Zakir

ANKARA (AA) – China has appointed a new administrator for western Xinjiang province, home to ethnic Uyghur Muslims, local daily reported on Friday.

The Standing Committee of the People’s Congress of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region appointed Erkin Tuniyaz as acting chairman, replacing Shohrat Zakir, Global Times reported.

Zakir had submitted his resignation, which the congress accepted on Thursday.

Tuniyaz, 60, belongs to the province’s Aksu township. He studied mathematics and obtained a master’s degree in economics in 1999 from Xinjiang University. And also studied law at the Party School of the Communist Party of China Central Committee from 2009 to 2011.

He was a senior visiting scholar at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2012.

He made headlines earlier this year when he participated in a virtual event to defend China’s stance on Xinjiang, which has been plagued by allegations of ethnic cleansing of Uyghurs.

Tuniyaz told participants that the event was “intended to present the real Xinjiang for attendees to come to their own conclusions amid lies by some Western and the US politicians.”

The event was held in February by China’s Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva and the Xinjiang provincial government.

China has been accused by several countries of ethnic cleansing of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, as well as restricting freedoms in the semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong, where Beijing enacted a controversial national security law last year.

Beijing has denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the allegations as “lies and (a) political virus.”



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