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China executes 13 for Xinjiang ‘terrorist attacks’

This screen grab taken from state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) footage on June 16, 2014 shows some prisoners (in orange) being escorted into the Intermediate People's Court in the Xinjiang capital Urumqi for the tr CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO / CCTV

BEIJING: China executed 13 people Monday for “terrorist attacks” in the violence-wracked northwestern region of Xinjiang, state media said, as death sentences were issued over a suicide car crash at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

The announcement by the official Xinhua news agency said the 13 were involved in seven different cases connected to Xinjiang, home to militants from the mainly Muslim Uighur ethnic group blamed by Beijing for a string of attacks that have rocked China in recent months.

“In one case, three defendants were convicted of organizing and leading terrorists to attack police station, hotel, government office building and other venues, killing 24 policemen and civilians and injuring 23 at Lukqun Township in Shanshan County of Turpan Prefecture on June 26 last year,” Xinhua said.

The announcement came hours after state media said three people had been sentenced to die over the Tiananmen crash last October and underscores the tough approach authorities are taking to increasingly brazen and violent incidents.

The Tiananmen attack was one of several that have rocked China since last year, and which Beijing has blamed on separatists from Xinjiang.

In March a horrific knife assault at a railway station in the southern city of Kunming left 29 dead and 143 wounded.

Chinese courts, which are controlled by the ruling Communist Party and have a near-perfect conviction rate, frequently impose death sentences for terrorism offenses.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 17, 2014, on page 11.

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