China probes Uighur mayor of restive Xinjiang city for graft

China probes Uighur mayor of restive Xinjiang city for graft
Police seen looking for fugitive "terrorists" in Aksu, in northeast China's Xinjiang region, in this photo taken on August 9, 2014. Beijing has blamed a series of recent violent attacks on separatists from Xinjiang. Rights groups accuse China's government of cultural and religious repression which they say fuels unrest in the region bordering Central Asia.

BEIJING - The ethnic Uighur mayor of a major city in China's unruly far-western region of Xinjiang is being investigated for corruption, state media said on Thursday, one of the few minority officials to be caught up in the government's war on graft.

Adil Nurmemet, mayor of Hotan city in the heavily Uighur southern part of Xinjiang, is being investigated for "suspected serious discipline violations", the official Xinhua news agency said, using the usual euphemism for graft.

The 46-year-old official took up his current position in early 2009, the brief report said, without providing further details.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the region in the past two years, most in violence between the Muslim Uighur people who call Xinjiang home and ethnic majority Han Chinese. The government has also blamed attacks in other parts of China, including Beijing, on Islamist militants from Xinjiang.

Security forces shot dead nine militants in a rural area close to Hotan city in August, and the region has seen numerous other bouts of violence.

President Xi Jinping has vowed to combat deep-seated corruption since assuming office two years ago, though parts of the country with large minority populations like Xinjiang and Tibet have largely escaped the campaign so far.

The ruling and 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 in July.

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