Urumqi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Chinese government has carried out 8 death sentences for "terrorism" in the north-western province of Xinjiang. The prisoners who were executed include the 3 held responsible for the attack in Tiananmen Square last October, which killed 5 people. The others were instead found guilty of crimes ranging from "arson" to the manufacture of explosive material for terrorist activities.
At the time of their execution, the state news agency Xinhua disclosed the identity of the three Tiananmen attackers: Huseyin Guxur, Yusup Wherniyas and Yusup Ehmet. Rozi Eziz was instead executed for attacking police officers in 2013; Abdusalam Elim for leading an unspecified terrorist organization; Memet Tohtiyusup for murder (the victim's name unknown) and for watching online video on religious extremism; Abdumomin Imin for being "terrorist ringleader". The name of the eighth prisoner that was executed is unknown.
Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uighur Congress exile group, called the executions "a typical case of the law serving political ends". According to the dissident, in fact, the sentences are part of a campaign launched by Beijing to weaken the strength of spirit in the province, which has long been seeking "genuine autonomy" from the central government.
The Xinjiang region is one of the most turbulent in all of China. Its Uyghur Muslim minority, who number about nine million, have long sought independence from China. The central government, for its part, has brought in hundreds of thousands of settlers to make Han Chinese the dominant ethnic group. At the same time, it has severely curtailed Muslim religious worship as well as the teaching of the local language and culture.