Ismail Amat

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Ismail Amat
ئىسمائىل ئەھمەد
Vice Chairman of the National People's Congress
In office
2003–2008
State Councillor
In office
1993–2003
Premier Li PengZhu Rongji
Minister of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission
In office
1986–1998
Preceded by Yang Jingren
Succeeded by Li Dezhu
Chairman of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
In office
1979–1985
Preceded by Wang Feng
Succeeded by Tömür Dawamat
Personal details
Born September 1935
Qira County, Xinjiang, China
Died 16 October 2018 (aged 83)
Beijing, China
Political party Communist Party of China
Alma mater Central Party School

Ismail Amat (Uyghur: ئىسمائىل ئەھمەد‎, ULY: Isma'il Ehmet; Chinese: 司马义·艾买提; pinyin: Sīmǎyì Àimǎití; September 1935 – 16 October 2018) was an Uyghur politician of China who served as Chairman (Governor) of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, State Councillor, Vice-Chairman of the National People's Congress, and Vice-Chairman of the CPPCC. He was one of the highest-ranking Uyghur or Muslim politicians in the history of the People's Republic of China.[1]

Early life and career in Xinjiang

Amat was born in Qira County, Hotan Prefecture, Xinjiang, China in 1935.[1][2] His parents were Uyghur peasants. From 1952 to 1954, he took part in the land reform movement in his hometown,[1] and joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1953.[2] He rose quickly in the government of Qira, and became the county magistrate in 1954 at the age of 19.[1]

In 1960, he was selected to study in Beijing at the Central Party School for two years. After returning to Xinjiang, he became deputy publicity head of Hotan Prefecture in 1963.[1][2]

During the Cultural Revolution, Amat was elevated to the regional government of Xinjiang in 1969 and elected to the 10th Central Committee of the CPC in 1972. From 1971 to 1979 he served as Xinjiang's party secretary and director of its Organization Department.[1][3] In 1979, he became Chairman (Governor) of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region at the age of 44. During his six-year tenure, he oversaw Xinjiang's transition to a market economy in the reform and opening era.[1]

Career in the national government

In 1986, Amat was elevated to the national government and became Minister of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission,[3] a key position in charge of affairs concerning ethnic minorities, especially the Tibetans and Muslim groups such as the Uyghurs. As a prominent Muslim CPC leader, he served as a mouthpiece of China's ethnic policies and condemned separatist movements.[1] He served in the position until 1998, and concurrently as vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) from 1988 to 1993. From 1993 to 2003 he also served as a vice-premier-level State Souncillor.[2][3] During his tenure there were multiple anti-Chinese protests in Xinjiang which were suppressed by the government.[1] Amat supported the official policy of harshly treating ethnic separatists while promoting economic growth and stability in minority regions.[1]

From 2003 to 2008 Amat served as vice-chairman of the 10th National People's Congress.[1] As one of the highest-ranking Uyghur or Muslim politicians in the history of the People's Republic of China, he frequently visited Central Asian nations and met with visiting dignitaries from Islamic countries.[1]

After the September 11 attacks in 2001, the United States captured a number of Chinese Uyghurs in the War in Afghanistan and held them in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. China considered the Uyghur detainees terrorists and demanded that the US hand them over to Chinese custody. When the demand was refused, Amat condemned the US in 2006.[1]

Amat served as a member of seven consecutive CPC Central Committees, from the 10th to the 16th, spanning 45 years.[2][3]

Death

Ismail Amat died on 16 October 2018 in Beijing, at the age of 83.[4][5]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Song, Yuwu (2014). Biographical Dictionary of the People's Republic of China. McFarland. pp. 9–10. ISBN 978-1-4766-0298-1.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Biography of Ismail Amat". China Vitae. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  3. ^ a b c d "Ismail Amat, vice-chairman of the 10th NPC Standing Committee". People's Daily Online. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  4. ^ "Former senior legislator dies at 84". China Daily. 2018-10-16. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  5. ^ "Former Chinese politician Ismail Amat dies at age 84". CGTN. 2018-10-16. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
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