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8 sentenced to death for 2 Xinjiang attacks

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China sentenced eight people to death for their roles in two knife and bomb attacks this spring in the country’s violence-plagued western region of Xinjiang, state media reported on Monday.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the region in the past two years, mostly due to violence between the Muslim Uighur minority and the majority Han Chinese.

The government has blamed a series of attacks in other parts of China, including Beijing, on Islamist militants from Xinjiang.

Knife and bomb attack

In April, a knife and bomb attack at a train station in the region’s capital of Urumqi killed three and injured 79. In May, 39 people at an Urumqi market were killed when attackers hurled explosives out of the windows of two SUVs.

Five others were given a sentence of “suspended death”, which in China usually means life in prison. Four others were given lesser prison sentences, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The people involved in the April attack were under the command of a member of the banned East Turkestan Islamic Movement who has since fled China, the report said.

The group gathered to watch and listen to extremist material, carried out test explosions and had also plotted to go abroad, Xinhua added.

China’s government often blames frequent outbreaks of violence there on extremists agitating for an independent nation.

State television broadcast interviews with some of the defendants, who said they had been led astray and regretted their actions.

In such a heavily politicised environment, a fair trial was impossible, said Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for exile group the World Uyghur Congress.

Exiled Uighur groups and human rights activists say the government’s repressive policies in Xinjiang, including controls on Islam, have provoked unrest. Beijing denies that.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 7:56:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/8-sentenced-to-death-for-2-xinjiang-attacks/article6673645.ece

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