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China executes 'terrorists'

August 24, 2014

China has executed eight people for "terrorist attacks," media reports say. Among those killed were three men accused of having masterminded a suicide car crash in Beijing's Tianamen Square in 2013.

Vehicles travel along Chang'an Avenue as smoke raises in front of a portrait of late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong at Tiananmen Square in Beijing October 28, 2013. REUTERS/Staff
Image: Reuters

The eight people executed were involved in "terrorist" attacks in the far western region of Xinjiang, state-run Xinhua news agency said early on Sunday.

It said three of the people had been "deprived of political rights to life" for "masterminding" an assault in Beijing's Tianamen Square in October 2013, in which two tourists died along with three attackers, after a car rammed into bystanders before bursting into flames. Some forty people were injured.

Beijing blamed the attack on Xinjiang separatists, who it says want to establish an independent state called East Turkestan. Xinjiang is the traditional home of Muslim Uighurs, who speak a Turkic language.

The other executions recently carried out were for crimes in Xinjiang ranging from setting up a terrorist outfit and illegally making explosives to attacking police officers and killing government officials, Xinhua said.

Harsh crackdown

The executions are part of a crackdown on violent crime in Xinjiang after a string of deadly attacks there. Thirteen people were executed in June.

A suicide bombing in May killed 39 people at a market in the regional capital, Urumqi, and 29 were stabbed to death at a train station in the soutwestern city of Kunming.

Exiled Uighur groups and human rights activists say the violence in the region results from the government's own policies of cultural oppression and intrusive security measures, as well as immigration to the region by China's Han ethnic majority, which they say has led to discrimination and economic equality.

Beijing, however, insists that it has improved living standards and developed the economy in the region.

Beijing does not say how many people it executes each year, but an independent estimate put the figure for 2012 at 3,000, which is higher than all other countries combined.

tj/ksb (Reuters, AFP)