Authorities in China’s far western region of Xinjiang have arrested three Uyghur officials on charges of failing to perform their duty during a December attack by militants on an office of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, state media reported on Thursday.
The Dec. 28 attack in Hotan (in Chinese, Hetian) prefecture’s Karakash county left at least five dead, including an official and security worker killed by the attackers and three suspects shot dead at the scene by police, sources told RFA’s Uyghur Service in an earlier report.
Abdumemet Sadir, party secretary of Jumebazar village in the county’s Yawa township, is now in custody for “failing to perform his tasks” in connection with the attack, according to reports in the state-run Global Times newspaper and China Central National Radio.
Also recently arrested for neglecting their duty were Elighoja Abdulla, vice head of the Karakash Party Committee office, and Memetniyaz Yusup, party secretary of the township’s Jihanbagh village, media reports said.
No details of how the three may have failed in their duties were provided in reports, though Sadir was briefly interviewed by RFA following the December attack.
Speaking to RFA on condition of anonymity, a social stability cadre in Jumebazar confirmed that Sadir had been taken into custody, saying the arrest was connected to “the incident” on Dec. 28.
“Yes, Abdumemet Sadir has been arrested,” the source said.
“We don’t know where he is. This kind of case is decided by higher-ups, and they won’t tell us what has happened or where he has been taken.”
“It seems that he was negligent in carrying out his duties, but we don’t know for sure,” he said.
'Encouraging by example'
Also reached by RFA, a police officer in nearby Jihanbagh village meanwhile declined to comment.
“I don’t know anything about this case,” he said. “You should ask the people who know something about it.”
Shen Xue, a Canada-based Chinese journalist and activist, said that the officials’ arrest may be part of a new tactic by Xinjiang’s administration of “encouraging others” by example.
“In this way, the Chinese Communist Party can intimidate Uyghur officials who are not fully supportive of its legitimacy, along with Uyghur cadres who might support the Uyghur resistance,” she said.
Beijing blames Uyghur extremists for a string of violent attacks and clashes in recent years.
But critics say that the government has exaggerated the threat from the Uyghurs, and that repressive domestic policies are responsible for violence that has left hundreds dead since 2009.
Reported by Jilil Kashgary for RFA’s Uyghur Servce. Translated by Mamatjan Juma. Written in English by Richard Finney.