Xinjiang profile - leaders

Communist Party Secretary: Zhang Chunxian

Image caption Zhang Chunxian has vowed to deal firmly with "separatist forces"

The Xinjiang regional secretary of the Communist Party is, de facto, the most senior official in the autonomous region.

Zhang Chunxian was appointed to the post in April 2010. A Han Chinese, Mr Zhang previously served as secretary of the party's committee in the southern province of Hunan.

He replaced Wang Lequan, from Shandong Province in the east of China, and also a Han Chinese, who had held the post since 1994.

No reason was given for Mr Wang's dismissal, but analysts said there was much public anger over his handling of the July 2009 riots.

In July 2012, on the third anniversary of the 2009 riots, Mr Zhang pledged to crack down on "separatist forces" in Xinjiang with an "iron fist".

Chairman: Nur Bekri

Image caption Nur Bekri

The Chairman of the Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region is the head of the regional government, and the post has been held since 2007 by Nur Bekri, an ethnic Uighur.

Born in 1961 and a career Communist Party official, Mr Bekri was previously mayor of Urumqi and served briefly in Wang Lequan's home province of Shandong. He has also been deputy regional secretary of the Communist Party since 2005.