China indicts ex-CCP chief of Urumqi for graft

Former party secretary of Xinjiang's capital accused of accepting bribes, Xinhua reports

BEIJING • The former Chinese Communist Party chief of Urumqi, the capital of the far western region of Xinjiang, has been indicted on corruption charges, China's state news agency Xinhua reported.

Yang Gang is accused of accepting bribes by "seeking benefit for others" and "illegally receiving other people's huge assets", Xinhua said yesterday.

Yang served as party secretary of Urumqi between 1999 and 2006.

Last week, a deputy regional security chief and former head of the prison system in Xinjiang, Xie Hui, was also put under investigation for suspected corruption.

For years, Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people, has been beset by violence, blamed by the government on Islamist militants who want an independent state called East Turkestan.

Last year, the ethnic Uighur mayor of Hotan, a major city in the heavily Uighur south of Xinjiang, was put under investigation for corruption, one of the few ethnic minority people caught up in President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign. Most recently, another senior ethnic Uighur official, who was secretary-general of the regional government, was also investigated late last month for serious discipline violations.

Since he came to power in November 2012, Mr Xi has pushed a sweeping crackdown on corruption, so far snaring more than 100,000 high-ranking "tigers" and lowly "flies". Mr Xi, like others before him, warned that the problem was so severe it could affect the party's ability to maintain power.

Despite naysayers, the campaign seems to have only intensified.

Last week, Zhou Benshun, the party's top official in the central province of Hebei, became the first incumbent provincial party chief to be targeted. He was put under investigation for suspected violations of party discipline and state law, according to a statement posted on Friday on the website of the party's top graft-busting agency, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

The latest probe comes as the Communist Party's leadership prepares to thrash out its social and economic blueprint at an October plenum, which is expected to focus on rebooting China's reform agenda.

Zhou, 62, had served on the party's political and legal committee from 2003 to 2013, and was assisting disgraced former security chief Zhou Yongkang.

The latter Zhou was sentenced to life in prison in June after a secret trial during which he pleaded guilty to charges including bribery, abuse of power and leaking state secrets, according to Xinhua.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2015, with the headline 'China indicts ex-CCP chief of Urumqi for graft'. Subscribe