China executes 13 people for "terrorist" attacks in Xinjiang

BEIJING Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:30am EDT

The trial of three people sentenced to death for their roles in an October attack on the edge of Beijing's Tiananmen Square is seen in this still image taken from video in Urumqi city, June 16, 2014.  REUTERS/CCTV/via Reuters TV

The trial of three people sentenced to death for their roles in an October attack on the edge of Beijing's Tiananmen Square is seen in this still image taken from video in Urumqi city, June 16, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/CCTV/via Reuters TV

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China executed 13 people on Monday for "terrorist attacks" in the far western region of Xinjiang, state media said, while another three were sentenced to death for a lethal attack at Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

"The 13 criminals had planned violent terrorist attacks and ruthlessly killed police officers, government officials and civilians, which took innocent lives, caused huge property losses and seriously endangered public security," the official news agency Xinhua said.

Xinjiang is the traditional home of Muslim Uighurs who speak a Turkic language, and China has blamed previous attacks on Islamist separatists it says seek to establish an independent state there called East Turkestan.

Exiled Uighur groups and human rights activists say the government's own repressive policies in Xinjiang have provoked unrest, something Beijing denies.

The 13 executed men were involved in attacks in different parts of Xinjiang, including one last June that killed 24 policemen and local residents, Xinhua said.

In the Tiananmen case, five people were killed and 40 hurt when a car plowed into a crowd in the square and burst into flames. Those killed included three people in the car.

As well as the death sentences for that attack, another man was sentenced to life and four others received jail terms ranging from five to 20 years, Xinhua said.

Footage of the trial on state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) showed suspects in orange jumpsuits at a Xinjiang courthouse, with Uighur women in tears as they watched the proceedings.

The men had formed a "terrorist group" in 2011, state broadcaster CCTV reported. Between December 2012 and the following September, they acquired firearms and explosives and last October traveled to Beijing and raised money to buy the car that would be driven to Tiananmen Square, CCTV said.

Attacks that authorities blame on Uighur separatists have continued.

A suicide bombing last month killed 39 people at a market in Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital. In March, 29 people were stabbed to death at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming.

Knife-wielding attackers wounded four people in a crowded hall where people were playing chess in the western city of Hotan on Sunday, CCTV said in a separate report. Two of the attackers were killed and a third was arrested.

Dozens of suspects in Xinjiang have been arrested and tried in recent weeks, accued of spreading extremist propaganda, possessing banned weapons and other crimes.

(Additional reporting by Joseph Campbell and Li Hui; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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Comments (12)
Stanley7746 wrote:
China seems to announce the unrest of groups that it wishes to internationally chastise for resisting major subjugation, yet unrest to everyday sort of abuses is not allowed to surface. The resistance to the land grab of the entire Uighur homeland is not the same as party officials claiming villager’s land. One is reported by the State the other only is day lighted by occasional external foreign press accounts resulting is little international awareness. Actual unrest in China may occur many times daily.

Jun 16, 2014 11:58am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Doc62 wrote:
I’m in rare agreement with brutal China. No doubt these terrorists took out Flt. 370 as well.

Jun 16, 2014 12:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
maebush wrote:
Why is the word “terrorist” in quotation marks in this story? Does that mean that there is any other interpretation of an event in which many innocent civilians were slashed to death?

Jun 16, 2014 12:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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