News / Asia

China Sentences Five Over April Xinjiang Clash

Armed paramilitary policemen stand in formation during a gathering to mobilize security operations in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, June 29, 2013.
Armed paramilitary policemen stand in formation during a gathering to mobilize security operations in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, June 29, 2013.
William Ide
Chinese authorities in the remote and restive western region of Xinjiang have sentenced two men to death and three others to prison for deadly clashes that authorities are calling a terrorist attack.  The violence occurred in late April and left 21 dead. 

Chinese state media said that after a one-day trial in the Xinjiang city of Kashgar, Musa Hesen and Rehman Hupur were both sentenced to death for murder and their alleged involvement in a terrorist group.  State reports said Hesen was the leader and founder of the group and that he was also involved in the illegal manufacture of explosives.
 
Sentences for the three other men ranged from nine years to life in prison.  The ethnicity of the defendants was not given. But their names suggest they belong to the Turkic-speaking Uighur minority that has long complained of state discrimination in the remote and predominantly Muslim region.

“I don't think these sentences are at all surprising, and I think that these sentences are in line with what we have seen in the past and I think also in line with what we would expect given the coverage and the scale of the incident that they are being condemned for,” said Raffaello Pantucci, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute.
 
Shanshan County, Xinjiang Province, ChinaShanshan County, Xinjiang Province, China
x
Shanshan County, Xinjiang Province, China
Shanshan County, Xinjiang Province, China
In total, 19 people were arrested in the wake of the April 23 clash and more trials are expected. The April violence left 15 police and community workers dead. The attack and the funerals that followed received intense media coverage in China.
 
Authorities tightly control journalists’ access to the region, making it difficult to independently verify accounts of violence in Xinjiang, beyond what is reported by state-backed media.
 
Family members of the security personnel killed in the April clash told Chinese language media that the men were planning to carry out a major attack the day after the incident occurred.

The government said the violence started when security officials were attacked while investigating suspicious behavior at a home.
 
Uighurs in Xinjiang

  • Ethnically Turkic Muslims
  • Make up about 45 percent of Xinjiang's population
  • The area was briefly independent in the 1940s before China re-established control in 1949
  • Many resent Chinese government controls and the increased Han population in Xinjiang
  • Fear an erosion of their culture and language
  • Uighur - Han clashes erupted in 2009 in Xinjiang
But some exiled Uighur activists said the violence was caused by the shooting death of a young Uighur boy by armed security personnel. Others have suggested the dispute was long-standing and that it was linked to demands that men shave their beards and women remove their veils.
 
“This sort of divergent reporting is very much part of the course for the province, we regularly get these sort of divergent reports and it is very difficult to know exactly who is correct. I would say that the one element that is changing about this picture is the government's willingness to put out a relatively complete picture of what they believe or understand the investigation to be,” said Pantucci.
 
Beijing said it is under threat from organized radical Muslim groups in the area.  Xinjiang shares its vast border with Central Asia, Pakistan and Afghanistan and the millions of Uighurs who live there frequently complain about restrictions on religion and culture.
 
China has spent billions improving living standards for minorities in the region and authorities say they treat minorities there fairly.
 
Pantucci said authorities in Beijing hope their strategy of focusing on tight security and economic improvement will win over the region’s ethnic minorities and lead to peace and prosperity.
 
“I think from the government's perspective their policies at the moment are clearly on a trajectory, but I think that they worry that this will take some time to bear fruits and show success. I think their dilemma is how much violence will they be able to take or will go on until these policies start having some sort of success,” Pantucci stated.
 
In 2009, almost 200 people, mostly Han Chinese, were killed in deadly rioting in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid