China’s former energy chief accused of corruption

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China has expelled one of its most senior ethnic Uighur officials from the Communist Party, the country’s anti-corruption watchdog said on Saturday, accusing the former energy chief of abusing his position to live a “lavish life”.

Nur Bekri, who was placed under investigation last September and removed from his post a month later, engaged in “family-style corruption”, illegally accepting property directly or through his relatives, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement.

China’s anti-graft agency said investigations revealed Bekri -- described as “greedy and corrupt” by the watchdog -- had demanded luxury cars for his relatives, participated in opulent banquets, accepted expensive gifts from those seeking favors and lived a “lavish life” in violation of Communist party principles.

He was also accused of trading power for sex.

He has been expelled from the party and his case will be transferred to prosecutors for further investigation, the statement added.

Bekri worked his way up in his native Xinjiang, eventually rising to deputy party secretary and government chairman in the far western region, before being appointed the head of China’s energy administration in 2014.

He was also deputy head of China’s state planner prior to his fall from grace, making him one of the highest-ranking Uighur officials in the country.

The mostly Muslim Uighur minority populates the restive Xinjiang region, where it faces a draconian crackdown in the name of combating terrorism and separatism.

Up to a million minorities are believed to be held in extrajudicial re-education camps in Xinjiang, rights groups say.

President Xi Jinping has presided over a much-publicized anti-corruption campaign since coming to power in 2012, which some have compared to a political purge.

The energy industry has been a particular target, with several top officials at China’s state-owned oil companies coming under investigation in recent years.

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