June 28, 2015 / 7:24 AM / 2 years ago

Senior Uighur official investigated for graft in China's Xinjiang

BEIJING (Reuters) - A senior ethnic Uighur official in China’s unruly far western region of Xinjiang is being investigated for suspected serious “discipline violations”, the Communist Party’s anti-graft watchdog said on Sunday, using a euphemism for corruption.

Alimjan Maimaitiming, 55, is secretary general of the regional government. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection gave no other details in its brief statement.

According to his official biography he is from Cherchen, also known by its Chinese name of Qiemo, in the heavily Uighur deep south of Xinjiang. He had previously been editor-in-chief of the official Xinjiang Daily.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the region in the past few years, most in violence between the Muslim Uighur people who call Xinjiang home and ethnic majority Han Chinese.

President Xi Jinping has vowed to combat deep-seated corruption since assuming power in late 2012, although parts of China with big minority populations like Xinjiang and Tibet have largely escaped the campaign so far.

The ethnic Uighur mayor of Hotan, also in Xinjiang’s deep south, was put under investigation for graft last year.

The officially atheist Communist Party has striven to appoint and promote more minority officials but, in Xinjiang especially, the Han Chinese-dominated party faces deep suspicion.

Some recent attacks have targeted Uighurs aligned with the government, including the killing of a state-backed Uighur imam last July.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait

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