China Sentences 4 to Die over Xinjiang Violence

Posted September 15th, 2011 at 12:25 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Four men have been sentenced to death in connection with a wave of deadly violence in China's troubled western region of Xinjiang.

The four were convicted Tuesday by courts in the cities of Kashgar and Hotan on a variety of charges, including involvement in terrorism, murder and arson. Two others were sentenced to 19 years in jail.

The violence began in Hotan on July 18, when a group of ethnic Uighurs seized a police station and killed four people. That was followed by attacks on July 30 and 31 in Kashgar, when assailants slashed pedestrians on the street and set fire to a restaurant.

More than 20 people were killed in the violence, including 14 attackers shot by police in Hotan.

China blamed the violence on militant Islamists and said their leaders had been trained in Pakistan. A group calling itself the Turkestan Islamic Party released a video last week claiming responsibility for the attacks.

Xinjiang has been plagued by ethnic violence between majority Han Chinese and the minority Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs. Nearly 200 people were killed in fighting between Uighurs and Han Chinese in 2009 in the regional capital of Urumqi.

Exile groups say the Uighurs have been economically and culturally repressed in their homeland by a growing influx of Han Chinese.