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    » 12/29/2009, 00.00

    CHINA

    On Christmas day, five Uyghurs sentenced to death for their role in Xinjiang’s July protest



    Trials were held on 22 and 23 December but were not reported by Chinese media. Eight people got life in prison and four were sentenced to ten years and more. The authorities announce more trials. Beijing wants to pursue its crackdown on Uyghurs but keep it a secret from the world.
    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Five more Uyghurs have been sentenced to death for their role in protests that broke out in Xinjiang, but Chinese authorities have tried to keep the news from both domestic and international media.

    “Altogether 22 defendants in five cases went on trial December 22- 23,” Hou Hanmin, director of the Xinjiang Government Information Office, was quoted as saying.

    Ma Xinchun, a representative for the Urumqi city government, confirmed that five people were handed death sentences (with a two-year suspension). Eight defendants were given life in prison, whilst four more were handed sentences of 10 years or longer.

    There is no information about who these people are but, according to Radio Free Asia, their names appear to be Uyghur.

    Hou did not elaborate on the charges that led to the convictions and sentencing, but they all appear related to the July 2009 unrest. He did say that they were published by Xinjiang newspapers; however, since July internet has been blocked in the province and local newspaper websites cannot be accessed from outside.

    Protests broke in the capital Urumqi on 5 July as a result of rising interethnic frustrations between indigenous Uyghurs and Han Chinese settlers. The latter have become a majority in Xinjiang and monopolise key political and economic positions thanks to an immigration policy pursued by the central government that provides them with a number of incentives, economic or otherwise, in order to move to the province.

    Protests started out peacefully (pictured, the 5 July demonstration) but turned into interethnic clashes that pitted Muslim Uyghurs against Han Chinese. This was followed by two days of retaliatory attacks by ethnic Chinese. The official death toll stands at about 200 dead and thousands of wounded.

    With the latest sentences, the number of death penalties handed down in connection with the riots has risen to 22, of which at least nine have already been carried out.

    In the meantime, official sources announced more trials against people accused of masterminding the protests.

    Similarly, Cambodia announced last week that it was going to send 20 Uyghurs back to China. They had fled Xinjiang after the protests and applied for refugee status at the UN representative’s office in Phnom Penh.

    This decision meets Beijing’s demands but has been severely criticised by the United States.

    Last week, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping signed a number of agreements worth US$ 1.2 billion during a visit to Cambodia. They include money for road building and the restoration of Buddhist temples.

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    See also

    28/01/2010 CHINA
    Xinjiang like Tibet: more money and police controls
    Five more people, probably all Uyghurs, have been sentenced to death for their involvement in last July’s riots. The authorities also announce more investments in the province. Experts say the money will likely benefit ruling groups whilst ethnic Uyghurs will be further dispossessed of their natural riches.

    04/12/2009 CHINA
    Five more Uyghurs sentenced to death in Xinjiang
    For Rebiya Kadeer, they “will face the same fate of the nine men executed in November if the world remains silent”. In the aftermath of July unrest, China continues its crackdown on the province’s indigenous population.

    26/06/2013 CHINA
    Xinjiang, police open fire on crowd: 27 victims
    In the remote western province, hotbed of ethnic clashes between Han and Uyghurs, tension continues unabated. A group of people assault police station and officers, who open fire at point blank range to repel them.

    10/09/2009 CHINA
    Authorities trying to restore confidence among Han and Uyghurs, but tourism in Xinjiang plummets
    Tensions are made worse by widespread mistrust towards the authorities, accused of not telling the truth. Only massive troop deployment is keeping a lid on the situation. Despite official claims that everything is going well, local hotels are empty.

    17/07/2009 CHINA
    Eerie Friday in Urumqi: under tight army control mosques remain almost deserted
    No fresh violence has been reported but tensions remain high in the Xinjiang capital. Many mosques are closed. In others administrators tell worshippers to stay at home for prayer. Authorities announced new arrests in riot-related incidents.



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