25 Apr 2010

Xinjiang boss replaced

6:02 am on 25 April 2010

China has replaced the head of the Communist Party in the western region of Xinjiang, which was affected by ethnic rioting last year. Nearly 200 people were killed.

The Xinhua news agency did not say why Wang Lequan had been removed. He has been Party secretary there since 1994.

Zhang Chunxian, 57, replaces him as the most powerful figure in Xinjiang.

Previously he served as secretary of the party's committee in the southern province of Hunan.

Mr Wang, 65, has been appointed deputy secretary of the political and legislative affairs committee of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee.

In a rare mass protest last September, thousands of people marched through Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang, demanding that Mr Wang be replaced.