File photo of Nur Bekri, Chairman of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.(REUTERS)
File photo of Nur Bekri, Chairman of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.(REUTERS)

Top Uyghur official from Xinjiang arrested for taking bribes

Beijing, Hindustan Times | By Sutirtho Patranobis
UPDATED ON APR 02, 2019 07:44 PM IST

Former chairperson of China’s troubled Xinjiang region, Nur Bekri, has been arrested on corruption charges, national prosecutors announced Tuesday, making him one of the most high-profile Uyghurs to be arrested under President Xi Jinping’s ongoing anti-graft campaigns.

Bekri was the chairperson of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) for seven years between 2007 and 2014, a period that saw several ethnic riots in the remote region.

Bekri was the head of the National Energy Administration last September when he was sacked from the post and expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) over “serious violations of Party discipline” that included taking bribes.

“Nur Bekri, former head of the National Energy Administration, has been arrested for taking bribes,” the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) announced Tuesday in a brief statement.

“The National Supervisory Commission has completed an investigation of his case and handed it over to the procuratorial organ for review and prosecution,” the SPP said.

“Nur Bekri was also former deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission,” the statement added.

Bekri was earlier accused of using his position to make money, and, according to state media “…trading favour for sex”.

Investigations were launched against him last year following the allegations of corruption.

“The investigation found that Nur Bekri took advantage of his positions to help others in promotions, operation of enterprises, and exploitation of mineral resources. He was also found to have taken bribes himself or through relatives. Other offenses included living an extravagant lifestyle and trading favour for sex,” the state-controlled China Daily newspaper had said in a report.

The report added that Bekri has severely violated the Party discipline and is suspected of taking bribes and that he showed no signs of restraint even after the 18th CPC National Congress, which was when Xi took over the reins of the CPC and soon after, launched his anti-corruption campaign.

The case is serious in nature and has a bad influence, and he should be harshly punished, the China Daily report said, quoting a government statement.

In a separate statement on Tuesday, the SSP announced that three other senior officials have been prosecuted for corruption: the former deputy head of the food and drug administration, Wu Zhen, former vice-chairperson of Beijing, Li Shixiang, and former vice-chairman of Henan province, Jin Suidong, had all abused their positions for their own benefit.

The announcements come days after former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei was expelled from the CPC and official positions.

The public security ministry announced that it would “completely and thoroughly eliminate the poisonous influence of Meng Hongwei”.

According to the official news agency, Xinhua, at least 51 officials at or above the provincial/ministerial level were among a total of 621,000 people punished by CCDI and the National Supervisory Commission last year.

More than 1.5 million officials have been brought down since the campaign took off in 2013.

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