Beijing has promoted Xinjiang’s police chief to a leadership position in the autonomous region, two months after he was sanctioned by the United States for alleged human rights abuses.
Wang Mingshan, Communist Party boss of the region’s public security bureau, is now a member of the party’s standing committee in Xinjiang, the official Xinjiang Daily reported.
The 56-year-old police chief was sanctioned in July along with regional party secretary Chen Quanguo over what US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called “forced labour, arbitrary mass detention and forced population control” of ethnic minority people in Xinjiang, and attempts to erase their culture and Muslim faith.
Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.
The sanctions targeted all assets held by the individuals in the US and barred them and their family members from travelling to the United States.
When the sanctions were announced, Wang said he felt “honoured” to be named, state news agency Xinhua reported in July.
Wang is expected to succeed Wang Junzheng as the head of the Xinjiang Political and Legal Affairs Commission. Wang Junzheng was named political commissar of the paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in May.
The party has also appointed two new faces from outside Xinjiang to senior positions in the region.
Sun Hongmei, deputy director of the organisation department of Inner Mongolia, and Liu Sushe, a department head in the State Council’s General Office, have been named vice-chairmen of the regional government.
A researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said Wang Mingshan’s promotion signalled defiance in Beijing against US sanctions.
“The promotion of Wang is more like a pat on the back for the police force in Xinjiang,” said the researcher who did not want to be named.
Alfred Wu, an associate professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, said Wang’s promotion reflected Beijing’s concern for stability.
“Promotion of security officials seems to be a trend in China now as the regime is increasingly concerned with stability and security issues,” Wu said.
Born in the neighbouring province of Gansu, Wang graduated from Xinjiang University with a physics degree. He spent over two decades in the security apparatus in Xinjiang’s Ili prefecture on the border with Kazakhstan where he cracked a major arms smuggling case in 1998.
He was appointed police chief in the regional capital Urumqi in December 2009, before taking the helm of Xinjiang’s police force in February 2017.
A source familiar with Wang said he was a well-known “technologist” in the Xinjiang police force and an early adopter of new policing technology.
More from South China Morning Post:
- US sanctions Chinese government officials over treatment of Uygurs in Xinjiang
- US sanctions Chinese entity and individuals over ‘human rights abuses’ against Uygurs in Xinjiang, using Global Magnitsky Act
This article China promotes Xinjiang police chief targeted by US human rights sanctions first appeared on South China Morning Post