Last Saturday, April 24th, Chinese Vice-president Xi Jinping made an announcement that Zhang Chunxian, former Party leader in Hunan, would be replacing Wang Lequan as Xinjiang’s top leader. Wang, who has held this position for 15 years, is most well-known for his “strike hard” campaigns, his bias towards businesses run by his friends, and his protruding third eye.
This change of the guard has been long-anticipated and hoped-for by all Xinjiang residents, although for different reasons. The Han are excited to finally get a leader who cracks a smile while the Uyghur are hoping for someone who won’t refer to them as “evil” every chance he gets.
For a better idea of what netizens think, I’ve translated the forum comments below:
Comments from Tianshannet:
**Why can’t I see anything?
Comments from iyaxin:
**These areas are blank as a joke. Don’t get it? Think about this: how can Xinjiang netizens react if, at the time of this posting, they can’t access the internet?**
All of these comments lead to a simple conclusion: the stage is set for Zhang, the new leader, to become an instant hero by opening up internet communications in Xinjiang. We’ll see if he’s up to the challenge.
Serious Reading on the Leadership Change:
- New York Times: China Replaces Leader of the Restive Xinjiang Region
- EastAsiaForum: China’s Partnership of Stability
- The New Dominion: Secretary Wang Lequan transferred, replaced with Zhang Chunxian
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