China to execute four Uighurs in western region
Feb 23, 2011, 9:39 GMT
Beijing - The Supreme People's Court has approved the execution of four Uighurs convicted of terrorism and murder in China's far western region of Xinjiang, state media said Wednesday.
The court approved death sentences against Abudula Tueryacun and Tuerhong Tuerdi after they were convicted of taking part in a bomb attack targeting local police in Xinjiang's Aksu city in August, the Xinjiang Daily reported.
They were among six people who threw explosives at a 15-member police patrol on a main road in Aksu.
The attack killed eight people, including two of the bombers, and injured 15 others, earlier reports said.
China's highest court also approved the execution of Akeneyacun Nuer, who was found guilty of stabbing to death a police officer in Khotan city in November.
The fourth man facing execution, Abudukaiyoumu Abudureheman, was convicted of killing two people with a homemade gun in the Hami area in September, the newspaper said.
China has reported several terrorist attacks and other violent incidents between Uighurs and the country's majority Han Chinese in Xinjiang in recent years.
Many of the region's 8 million Uighurs, a minority among the Xinjiang's population of nearly 20 million, complain of cultural and religious repression.
The Uighurs claim that ethnic Chinese migrants enjoy the main benefits of development in the oil-rich but economically backward region.
The Munich-based World Uighur Congress earlier this week said Chinese authorities were 'targeting Uighur publications throughout Xinjiang' following the recent uprisings in the Middle East.
'The government is worried that there will be a new round of large-scale protests [in Xinjiang],' Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the group, told US-based Radio Free Asia.
Open letters circulated online by Chinese democracy activists Wednesday called for weekly anti-government protests from Sunday in the regional capital Urumqi and 17 other cities.
At least 26 people were sentenced to death, most of them Uighurs, after ethnic riots in July 2009 left some 200 people dead in Urumqi.
Several of those 26 people were reportedly executed but the fate of others remains unclear.
China executes more people annually than the rest of the world put together, according to rights groups.
But the government lists statistics on death sentences and executions as state secrets.
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