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China Executes 3 for Deadly Kunming Train Station Attack

FILE - Policemen patrol as a woman walks past in front of a court, where a trial of suspects of the Kunming railway station attack is taking place, in Kunming, Yunnan province September 12, 2014.

China has executed three men for their alleged role in last year's deadly attack that killed 31 people at a train station in the southwest city of Kunming.

The men - identified as Iskandar Ehet, Turgun Tohtunyaz and Hasayn Muhammad - were put to death Tuesday, according to a statement by the Kunming Intermediate People's Court.

The three were convicted in September of homicide and leading a terrorist group, which authorities say carried out the March 2014 knife attack on the Kunming railway station.

Police shot and killed four of the five assailants. The other attacker, a pregnant woman, was captured alive and has been sentenced to life in prison.

It was one of the deadliest attacks yet blamed by China on separatists based in the far-western region of Xinjiang, which is home to the Uighurs, a mostly Muslim ethnic minority group.

In recent years, hundreds have been killed in violent attacks, which have increasingly targeted civilians as well as government authorities. China has responded with a heavy-handed anti-terror crackdown that has resulted in dozens of executions and hundreds of arrests.

Many exiled Uighur activists say the violence is a reaction to China's repressive policies in Xinjiang, where Uighurs have lived for centuries but are gradually being replaced by the Han Chinese majority group.

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