Xinjiang’s Communist Party Secretary Li Zhi and City Police Chief Liu Yaohua were removed from their posts Sept. 5 following a two-day protest by local Han Chinese.
Protesters condemned the incompetence of local authorities in their handling of the threat of hypodermic needle attacks by HIV-infected syringe needles in Urumqi.
Protesters had demanded that Wang Lequan, Regional Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) step down. However, Wang Lequan is still in power.
Analysts believe Wang’s status will remain stable because the CCP wants to avoid too many personnel changes right before its National Day, according to Sing Tao Daily. Beijing authorities only removed Li and Liu from office to appease public indignation, according to analysts.
Hong Kong political commentator Johnny Lau said that the regime only “sacrificed the pawn to save the queen.” He said that officials are afraid that dismissing Wang will trigger a ripple effect that could result in the removal of other officials who currently face much public disapproval.
Wang, 65, has been in power for a decade in Xinjiang. During his term, conflicts between the Uighur and Han ethnic groups have increasingly intensified, Hong Kong journalist Ching Cheong told Ming Pao Daily News. A number of non-governmental advocacy groups in mainland China signed a joint statement calling for Chinese around the world to call for Wang to step down.
Ching and Lau both believe that just removing two officials from office will not solve any conflicts between the Han and Uighur communities. According to Lau, influential officials have focused on making profit from various development projects rather than resolving the ongoing disputes between the Han Chinese and the Uighurs.
On Sept. 4, Chinese Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu was dispatched by Beijing to direct the province’s police functions on behalf of the CCP and leader Hu Jintao. Official Chinese media have reported that Meng will take the lead with Wang as the deputy.