Death penalty for Tiananmen deadly attack
Urumqi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Three people were sentenced to death for their roles in carrying out a deadly attack on Tiananmen Square last October. The Xinjiang Intermediate People's Court also handed a life sentence to one suspect, among eight put on trial for allegedly planning the attack. Four of those received sentences ranging from five to 20 years in jail, state television said on its official microblog.
The trial started on June 13, and the sentence came out today, said CCTV. It identified two of the accused with names that sounded Uygur, the largest ethnic group in the violence-racked region of Xinjiang.
Two people were killed and 40 injured when a car ploughed into a crowd at the northern edge of Tiananmen, while the three people in the car also died. The government had blamed Islamic militants for the attack on October 28. Among those killed were a Chinese visitor and a tourist from the Philippines were killed, along with the vehicle's driver, his wife and mother-in-law, according to Chinese authorities.
The attack was the first to strike Beijing in recent memory. It pointed to a new level of violence and lethal intent in the long simmering insurgency against Chinese rule in the far northwestern region of Xinjiang. It is home to the ethnic Uyghur, Turkic speaking peoples of Islamic religion, who have always sought to gain independence from Beijing. The central government, for its part, planted hundreds of thousands of Han Chinese in the region to try to make them the dominant ethnic group. It also imposes serious restrictions on freedom of religion, the practice of Islam, the teaching of the language and the local culture.