BEIJING (Reuters) - A deputy regional security chief and former head of the prison system in China’s violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang has been put under investigation for suspected corruption, the government said on Wednesday.
Xie Hui is being investigated for “suspected serious breaches in discipline”, the ruling Communist Party’s anti-graft watchdog the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a brief statement, using the usual euphemism for corruption.
It provided no other details, and it was not possible to reach Xie for comment.
Xie’s official resume, included in the watchdog’s statement, shows he spent his entire career working in Xinjiang, including in the old labor camp system, which used penal labor as punishment.
He ran the Xinjiang prison system from 2010 until his promotion in 2013 to be a vice head of the Xinjiang public security bureau.
President Xi Jinping has pushed a sweeping crackdown on corruption since taking power two years ago. Xi, like others before him, warned that the problem was so severe it could affect the party’s ability to maintain power.
For years Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people, has been beset by violence, blamed by the government on Islamist extremists who want an independent state called East Turkestan.
Rights groups and exiles say the violence is more a reaction to Uighur frustration at government controls on their religion and culture. Beijing denies any repression in Xinjiang.
The energy-rich region, which sits strategically on the borders of Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Central Asia, has not been as much a focus of the government’s graft crackdown as other parts of China.
Last year, however, prosecutors begun an investigation into the former Communist Party chief of the Xinjiang Police College, which trains public security officials, for suspected abuse of power and corruption.
Also last year, the ethnic Uighur mayor of Hotan, a major city in the heavily Uighur south of Xinjiang, was put under investigation for corruption, one of the few ethnic minorities caught up in Xi’s campaign.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez