A further three people have been given death sentences over ethnic rioting in China’s Xinjiang province. Six others are already facing capital punishment for their involvement in clashes between Uighurs and Han Chinese, in what was Xinjiang’s bloodiest unrest in decades.
Beijing says the violence left almost 200 people dead, mostly Han Chinese. More than 1,600 were injured. Three other defendents have been given suspended death sentences and a number of others are awaiting trial on charges including murder, arson and robbery. The disturbances erupted in July, bringing years of simmering tensions between the communities to a head. It was sparked by a protest over attacks on factory workers in which two Uighurs died. Many Uighurs resent government restrictions on their religion and culture and a massive influx of Han Chinese settlers. Separatists have been campaigning for an Uighur homeland and the energy rich province has seen a rise in bomb and gun attack in recent years.