China sentences 55 in Xinjiang mass trial

 29 May 2014 - 0:00

BEIJING:  Local officials in China’s western Xinjiang region held a public rally for the mass sentencing of criminals on Tuesday, handing out judgements for 55 people and at least three death sentences for crimes such as “violent terrorism,” state media said. 
The public sentencing, reminiscent of China’s revolutionary era rallies, attracted a crowd of 7,000 at a sports stadium in Yining city in the northern prefecture of Yili. 
Photos showed packed stadium bleachers and trucks parked on the sports field loaded with prisoners in orange vests being guarded by armed police. 
The mass trial follows a similar event last week in the region where 39 people were sentenced to jail on terrorism charges. 
China is waging a year-long anti-terrorism operation nationwide after a series of attacks, but has focused on Xinjiang, home to a large Muslim Uighur minority, following a series of bloody attacks that Beijing blames on Islamists and separatists from the region. 
The latest prisoners were sentenced for a range of crimes, including intentional murder, separatism, and leading or participating in terrorism groups, People.cn, the website associated with the People’s Daily, said on Tuesday night. 
The public sentencing made clear the determination of the ruling Communist Party to strike hard at “violent terrorism, separatism and religious extremism,” the prefecture’s deputy Party secretary Li Minghui said at the rally. 
“(We) must resolutely strike criminals ... and boost the confidence and will to fight for all ethnicities among the masses,” Li said. 
The public spectacle was originally reported by the official Xinhua news agency, but links to the story appeared to have been taken down. 
Beijing says separatist groups in Xinjiang are seeking to form their own state called East Turkestan, though experts dispute the influence and reach of the most prominent group, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
Reuters

 

BEIJING:  Local officials in China’s western Xinjiang region held a public rally for the mass sentencing of criminals on Tuesday, handing out judgements for 55 people and at least three death sentences for crimes such as “violent terrorism,” state media said. 
The public sentencing, reminiscent of China’s revolutionary era rallies, attracted a crowd of 7,000 at a sports stadium in Yining city in the northern prefecture of Yili. 
Photos showed packed stadium bleachers and trucks parked on the sports field loaded with prisoners in orange vests being guarded by armed police. 
The mass trial follows a similar event last week in the region where 39 people were sentenced to jail on terrorism charges. 
China is waging a year-long anti-terrorism operation nationwide after a series of attacks, but has focused on Xinjiang, home to a large Muslim Uighur minority, following a series of bloody attacks that Beijing blames on Islamists and separatists from the region. 
The latest prisoners were sentenced for a range of crimes, including intentional murder, separatism, and leading or participating in terrorism groups, People.cn, the website associated with the People’s Daily, said on Tuesday night. 
The public sentencing made clear the determination of the ruling Communist Party to strike hard at “violent terrorism, separatism and religious extremism,” the prefecture’s deputy Party secretary Li Minghui said at the rally. 
“(We) must resolutely strike criminals ... and boost the confidence and will to fight for all ethnicities among the masses,” Li said. 
The public spectacle was originally reported by the official Xinhua news agency, but links to the story appeared to have been taken down. 
Beijing says separatist groups in Xinjiang are seeking to form their own state called East Turkestan, though experts dispute the influence and reach of the most prominent group, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
Reuters