A court in far-west China has jailed three people for a series of needle attacks.
One 19-year-old was sentenced to 15 years after using a pin to jab a woman while she bought fruit. In a separate trial, another man and woman were given ten and seven years respectively after threatening to use a syringe against a taxi driver. The court did not give the ethnicity of the three but their names suggest they came from Xinjiang’s Uighur community. Urumqi, the capital of China’s far western region, has been rocked by a series of hypodermic needle stabbings’. The region’s Han Chinese have accused Uighur separatists of using the syringe attacks to stir ethnic tensions. In July, deadly street violence between Xinjiang’s two communities left nearly 200, mostly Han Chinese, dead according to authorities. A number of people have been charged with using needles and Urumqi continues to reel from the attacks. Last week, five people died in riots when thousands of protesters demanded the resignation of Xinjiang’s veteran Communist party chief. The region’s population is divided between Uighurs, a largely Muslim people culturally tied to Central Asia and Turkey and Han Chinese, the main ethnic group in China as a whole.