WASHINGTON—The mayor of a major city in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has died in an apparent suicide, officials have told RFA.
Three officials in the region, whose population comprises mainly Muslim Uyghurs, told RFA’s Uyghur service the mayor of Korla, Mutalip Yusup, appeared to have killed himself. They gave no details.
Korla is located in the south-central part of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's northwest corner, about 500 kms from the regional capital, Urumqi.
A listener initially reported Yusup’s death, which has so far gone unreported in the Chinese- and Uyghur-language media.
A city official said the mayor had died Sept. 23. “We don’t know this event very clearly, and we don’t know if he committed suicide or was murdered or died of natural causes,” the official said.
Another official, who gave his surname as Wang, said, “We heard this information orally, that he seems to have committed suicide by cutting his artery, and some bribery may have been involved.”
A public security officer said the mayor “committed suicide, but we don’t know anything else.” Chinese media haven’t reported the death, said the official, who asked not to be named.
Another official, contacted Tuesday by RFA’s Uyghur service, said Yusup’s wife had been detained before her husband’s death amid allegations of corruption. No details were available.
Yusup, according to his official biography, was born in 1961 in Lop Nur County in Xinjiang.
He became a member of the Chinese Communist Party in 1984 and began working in 1986. In addition to holding the post of mayor, he was also Korla’s deputy Communist Party chief.