'Architect' of horrific Uyghur crackdown 'ousted' from China’s top leadership body

'Architect' of horrific Uyghur crackdown 'ousted' from China’s top leadership body
Chen Quanguo, widely regarded as the man responsible for overseeing the abuses against the Uyghur Muslim minority, has been left out of China's top leadership body.
2 min read
24 October, 2022
Chen Quanguo's name was not included in the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party [Getty]

Chen Quanguo, the former party secretary in charge of Xinjiang's Uyghur-majority region, has been reportedly ousted from China's newly elected top leadership body. 

Chen's name was missing from the 205 members of the Central Committee, the command centre of China, following the 20th Communist Party of China (CPC) Congress last week.

He is widely regarded as the man responsible for executing draconian laws against the country's Uyghur Muslim minority, in a crackdown described by the US and others as a genocide.

He has been accused of being behind the forced disappearances, mass surveillance, and brutal incarnation of the hundreds of thousands of Uyghur Muslims.

"Chen is the primary architect of policies that meet the definition of genocide under international law," according to a 2020 tweet from the Uyghur Human Rights Project.

Chen’s removal from the group was surprising given he is only 66 years old, two years below the mandated retirement age of 68.

Earlier this year, a cache of documents called the Xinjiang Police Files revealed that Chen allegedly told his audience to treat Uyghurs returning from abroad "as criminals" during a speech in 2017.

He also reportedly instructed police to "arrest, detain, handcuff and shackle them [returnees] without exception", according to the BBC.

In the same speech, he ordered police to "shoot dead" anyone who tried to escape from the brutal incarceration camps.

More than a million Uyghurs are thought to have been detained in these facilities, where torture and other abuses are common.

China argues the camps are used for "re-training" Uyghurs and stamping out religious extremism, claims widely rejected by human rights groups. 

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Chen is one of the highest-ranked Chinese officials sanctioned by various countries in connection with abuses against the Uyghurs, including the US. 

Before Xinjiang, Chen Quanguo made his name as the governor of China’s Tibet region where he has been accused of ruling with an iron fist and overseeing the abuse of the local population.

Muslims in these camps have been forced to undergo abortions, drink alcohol and eat pork in what activists say is an attempt to destroy their unique Turkic Muslim culture.