China probes deputy prosecutor in Xinjiang for graft

Armed policemen during a gathering to mobilise security operations in Urumqi, Xinjiang, on June 29, 2013.
Armed policemen during a gathering to mobilise security operations in Urumqi, Xinjiang, on June 29, 2013.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's ruling Communist Party said on Friday (Dec 25) it had begun a probe into a deputy chief prosecutor in the unruly far western region of Xinjiang for suspected "serious discipline" issues, the usual euphemism for corruption.

A brief statement by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection gave no details of the investigation into Shi Shaolin. It was not possible to reach him for comment.

Shi took up his current job in July 2013, and had previously served as a senior regional prisons official and had worked in the old Silk Road city of Kashgar, deep in Xinjiang's Uighur heartland, according to his résumé.

Hundreds of people have been killed over the past few years in resource-rich Xinjiang, strategically located on the borders of central Asia, in violence between the Muslim Uighur people who call the region home and ethnic majority Han Chinese.

Beijing blames the unrest on Islamist militants. Rights groups and exiles say the problems stem more from Uighur frustration at Chinese controls on their religion and culture, doubting the existence of a cohesive militant threat.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has embarked upon an ambitious campaign to crack down on deep-rooted graft, warning, like others before him, the problem is so bad it could affect the party's grip on power.