Nur Bekri

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Nur Bekri
نۇر بەكرى
努尔·白克力
Voa chinese Xinjiang Governor Nur Bekri 7mar10.jpg
Director of the National Energy Administration
In office
December 2014 – September 2018
Preceded byWu Xinxiong
Succeeded byZhang Jianhua
Chairman of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region People's Government
In office
January 2008 – December 2014
Preceded byIsmail Tiliwaldi
Succeeded byShohrat Zakir
Personal details
Born9 August 1961 (1961-08-09) (age 57)
Bole (Bortala), Xinjiang, China
CitizenshipPeople's Republic of China
NationalityChinese
Political partyCommunist Party of China (expelled 2019)
ResidenceBole, Ürümqi, Beijing
Alma materXinjiang University
Nur Bekri
نۇر بەكرى
努尔·白克力
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese·
Traditional Chinese·
Hanyu PinyinNǔ'ěr Báikèlì
Uyghur name
Uyghurنۇر بەكرى

Nur Bekri (Uyghur: نۇر بەكرى‎; born 9 August 1961) is a former Chinese politician of Uyghur origin, best known for his term as Chairman of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, a vast region in northwestern China, between 2008 and 2014. Between 2014 and 2018, he was Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission and Director of the National Energy Administration, with rank equivalent of a minister. Bekri was one of the highest ranked ethnic-minority officials in the Chinese government.

Bekri was born and raised in Xinjiang. Prior to his transfer to Beijing, he spent his entire life in the Region, aside from a short stint as the Deputy Mayor of Feicheng, Shandong province. He is also former Mayor of Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. He was dismissed from his posts and placed under investigation for corruption in 2018. He was expelled from the Communist Party.

Early life[edit]

Nur Bekri was born in a village near Kazakhstan in an area under the jurisdiction of Bole (known in Uyghur as "Bortala"), Xinjiang. He received education in the Chinese language since early childhood and spoke Uyghur and Mandarin Chinese at a native fluency. He spent only one year in high school before taking the university entrance examinations, and scored highest in his township. He was sought after as a "minority talent" by the nation's top universities.[1]

Ultimately, Bekri enrolled at Xinjiang University in September 1978 and studied political theory. He joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) in December 1982. He stayed at his alma mater to serve as a lecturer for political theory after graduation, and was a prominent member of the local Communist Youth League organization, rising to become the Xinjiang University Youth League organization's deputy chief in the late 1980s, eventually being promoted to the First Secretary (i.e. leader) of the Xinjiang University Youth League, a position he held until 1992.[2]

Political Career[edit]

Between 1993 and 1995 Bekri served in the Kashgar region as an assistant to the local governor. Between 1994 and 2002 Bekri served in a series of local political roles, including the vice-mayor of Feicheng, Shandong province, the deputy Secretary-General of the Xinjiang regional government, the deputy party secretary and mayor of Urumqi. At age 37, Bekri was the youngest mayor of a provincial-level capital in China at the time. Bekri then worked in the Xinjiang regional government beginning in 2000, becoming a member of the Party Committee, then Deputy Party Secretary in January 2005.[2]

Chairman of Xinjiang[edit]

Nur Bekri was appointed Chairman of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region People's Government, replacing Ismail Tiliwaldi, who resigned as Chairman in December 2007. At age 46, Bekri became one of the youngest provincial governors (or equivalents) in China. As Chairman, Bekri was nominally Xinjiang's top government official, but in practice was subordinate to the Communist Party Secretary for the region, Wang Lequan (term 1994–2010), then Zhang Chunxian (2010 onwards).

After the 2009 Urumqi riots, Bekri delivered the televised address in which he explained the situation that has led up to the violence and then condemned who he deemed to be coordinators of the attack.[3] Bekri has been subject to criticism by Uyghur economist and scholar Ilham Tohti, founder of Uyghur Online, a website that criticized the Chairman and his policies.[4] Tohti said that Bekri was "unqualified" for his position and that he "does not care about Uyghurs". Tohti was later jailed on charges of "separatism". The World Uyghur Congress and some in the overseas Uyghur community also considered Bekri to be a "puppet of the Chinese government." Bekri was the highest-ranked government official to deliver a televised speech on this issue.[5]

As the highest ranked ethnic Uyghur official in the Xinjiang government, Bekri toed the party line on issues related to Xinjiang independence, often issuing official denunciations of what the government saw as religious extremism or terrorism. He was sometimes called "Nol Bekri", an Uyghur-language pun on his name which roughly meant "nil Bekri" or "zero Bekri", referring to his being seen has having little to no power.[5]

National Energy Administration[edit]

Bekri was transferred to the National Energy Administration (NEA) under the powerful National Development and Reform Commission, a body with wide jurisdiction over economic development, in December 2014. He was replaced as Xinjiang Chairman by Shohrat Zakir. By taking on the top job at the National Energy Administration, Nur Bekri broke the mold of Uyghur government leaders, taking on a substantive post completely unrelated to ethnic affairs. His first act as leader of the NEA was to crack down on corruption; one of his predecessors Liu Tienan went to jail for corruption in a high-profile case. Under Bekri's leadership, the NEA pledged massive investment into renewable energy, and closed down over 100 coal-fired power plants. He became an outspoken proponent of renewable energy, meeting global industry executives and touting that China was contributing "strength and wisdom" to the transformation of the global energy production.[6]

Bekri is an alternate member of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and a member of the 18th Central Committee. He was the only ethnic Uyghur with full membership on the 18th Central Committee. He did not gain a seat on the 19th Central Committee despite not having reached retirement age, raising speculation in 2017 that he had fallen out of favor.

Investigation[edit]

In the early morning hours of September 20, 2018, Bekri was placed under investigation by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission. His last public appearance was a visit to Russia with Vice-Premier Han Zheng.[1] On March 16, 2019, he was expelled from the Communist Party of China.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "中共反腐指向更高级官员 发改委副主任努尔·白克力被查". Duowei. September 20, 2018.
  2. ^ a b 新疆新一屆政府主席、副主席簡歷(主席努爾白克力) (in Chinese). 中国经济网. 2013-02-01. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  3. ^ Xinjiang Chairman delivers speech on unrest (in Chinese)
  4. ^ Wong, Edward (15 July 2009). "Intellectuals Call for Release of Uighur Economist". New York Times. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  5. ^ a b "Chairman Seen as Lame Duck". Radio Free Asia. 19 October 2012.
  6. ^ "努尔-白克力:中国为全球能源转型发展贡献智慧和力量". CN Energy. May 16, 2017.
  7. ^ "国家发展和改革委员会原党组成员、副主任,国家能源局原党组书记、局长努尔·白克力严重违纪违法被开除党籍和公职". Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. 2019-03-16. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
Government offices
Preceded by
Ismail Tiliwaldi
Chairman of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region People's Government
2007–2014
Succeeded by
Shohrat Zakir
Preceded by
Wu Xinxiong
Director of the National Energy Administration
2014–2018
Succeeded by
Zhang Jianhua