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Governor of Guangdong appointed Communist Party chief to Xinjiang

Co-director position of the Guangdong-Macao Intensive Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, which Ma Xingrui also held, will now be re-assigned.

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Co-director position of the Guangdong-Macao Intensive Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, which Ma Xingrui also held, will now be re-assigned.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:46 am

China has appointed the governor of the southern province of Guangdong, Ma Xingrui, as the new Communist Party chief for the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, state news agency Xinhua reported. Ma, who is 62 years old, will replace incumbent Chen Quanguo.

Ma Xingrui has been governor of Guangdong since 2017 and previously served as Shenzhen party boss from 2015.

The new Communist Party chief for the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region had been appointed as co-director of the Guangdong-Macao Intensive Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, alongside Macao’s Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng this September.

Ma Xingrui is also one of the country’s top scientists, with a background in the aerospace industry.

After serving as general manager of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, he was made director of the China National Space Administration in 2013, where he commanded China’s first successful lunar surface mission Chang’e 3.

Ma’s new role is likely to win him a ticket to join the Politburo in the next congress.

Wu Qiang, a political analyst in Beijing, said Chen’s replacement was likely to have little impact on policies in Xinjiang.

However, a Beijing-based expert on Xinjiang issues, quoted by the South China Morning Post, said the replacement might indicate the government wanted to add some new elements to its policy in Xinjiang, arguing that “replacement definitely means new thoughts”.

Professor Song Xiaozhuang, from Shenzhen University’s Centre for the Basic Laws of Hong Kong and Macao, said Ma’s Guangdong experience might aid Xinjiang’s economic development, as well as help fend off overseas accusations of “forced labour”.

“Guangdong’s economy has led the country in many aspects, including in GDP. Ma is very familiar with the issue of ‘forced labour’ from his dealings with foreign investment from all over the world,” Song said.

Chen Quanguo has been targeted by foreign sanctions over the crackdown against the Uygurs and other Muslim minorities in the region that he spearheaded, prompting allegations of widespread human rights abuses from the US and other Western countries. China says Xinjiang sanctions are an “industry genocide” targeting businesses and Beijing has defended its policies in the region, saying they are designed to combat extremism.

Xinjiang is a source for cotton used in clothing and is a key location for producing polysilicon used in solar panels, seen as crucial in the global shift away from fossil fuels.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:46 am

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