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China Removes Xinjiang Military Chief From Local Party Top Post

China’s Communist Party removed the military chief of the restive Xinjiang province from its top decision-making body in the region.

Peng Yong was removed from the Standing Committee of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region while Liu Lei was appointed as a member to the Committee, Xinjiang Daily reported on its website today, without elaborating. Peng was named a member of the Standing Committee of Xinjiang and commander of Xinjiang Military Area Command since 2011, according to a profile on the website of China’s Communist Party.

Peng’s dismissal came after China’s security chief Meng Jianzhu said in an interview with Phoenix Television the people in a vehicle that crashed near Beijing’s Tiananmen Square last week, leaving five dead, had links to a Uighur militant group in Central Asia.

Chinese police detained five suspects within 10 hours of the Oct. 28 crash with help from authorities in Xinjiang, Xinhua reported Oct. 30. They were identified by names that aren’t typical of Han Chinese, without being described as Uighurs. The suspects said they knew Usmen Hasan, the driver of the car, Xinhua added.

Police found knives and religious material in the sport-utility vehicle, which was driven by a man whose mother and wife were inside when it crashed near Tiananmen Square, according to Xinhua.

The incident, which left all three plus two tourists from the Philippines and the Chinese province of Guangdong dead, was “carefully planned, organized and premeditated,” Xinhua reported, citing the police.

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