China Ousts Top Party Official in Wake of Unrest
The top Communist official in Urumqi in western China was dismissed on Saturday as a large deployment of the military police appeared to have brought a measure of peace to the city after two days of large street protests.
Li Zhi, the party secretary of Urumqi, lost his post, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday evening. He became the most senior person to be removed since ethnic tensions erupted there in rioting in early July.
Beijing officials also sent to Urumqi last week a special medical inspection unit from the People’s Liberation Army to investigate reports that people had been stabbed with needles.
It is somewhat unusual for China’s leaders to replace a senior local official so quickly after protests — in this case, while large deployments of armed police officers are still blocking intersections in Urumqi and most shops are still closed. The Beijing leadership has often sought to avoid giving the impression of giving in to public pressure.
Read more reports about the protests via CDT.