China is reportedly investigating a senior ethnic Uighur official from its northwestern Xinjiang region for corruption, the Communist Party’s anti-graft watchdog said on Sunday.
Central Commision for Discipline Inspection gave the suspect’s name on Sunday as Alimjan Maimaitim, 55, from Cherchen in the heavily Uighur-populated deep south of Xinjiang. There was no additional information about the investigation.
Maimaitim had previously been editor-in-chief of the official Xinjiang Daily before his current position in the regional government as secretary general.
Violence between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese settlers which left hundreds of people dead in the region in recent years has been escalating.
Pressure on the indigenous Uighur people has been increasing in Xinjiang, which they call East Turkestan, since the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
The Chinese government recently ordered Uighur Muslims in the region to keep their shops open during Ramadan and sell alcohol and cigarettes, although many Muslims consider selling and using the products as a sin according to their belief.
Ethnic Uighurs have also been prevented from performing their religious practices openly, with the authorities banning the wearing of headscarves and teaching of the Qur’an to children.
Uighur public servants have been banned from fasting and youngsters have been forced to attend free launches in the Xinjiang’s schools and universities during Ramadan.
The Chinese Communist Party’s policy is pushing for the assigning of more minority officials but Xinjiang region constitutes an exception due to the Han Chinese-dominated party’s effort to keep the Uighurs out of management.
President Xi Jinping launched a countrywide campaign to fight against corruption in late 2012, including big minority populations like Xinjiang and Tibet.
Mayor of Hotan city, Adil Nurmemet, in the Uighur dominated southern part of Xinjiang, was also subject of a separate anti-graft probe last year in May.