FILE - A protester from the Uyghur community living in Turkey prays during a protest against the visit of China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Turkey, in Istanbul, March 25, 2021.
FILE - A protester from the Uyghur community living in Turkey prays during a protest against the visit of China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Turkey, in Istanbul, March 25, 2021.

Two former government officials in China’s northwest region of Xinjiang have been sentenced to death on charges involving separatism.

Wang Langtao, the vice president of Xinjiang’s higher people’s court, told reporters Tuesday that Sattar Sawut and Shirzat Bawudun have both been granted a two-year reprieve on their sentences.  Such sentences are usually commuted to life imprisonment.

Sattar Sawut, a former education official, has been convicted of incorporating ethnic separatism violence, terrorism and religious extremism into Uyghur-language school textbooks. 

A protester from the Uyghur community living in Turkey, holds an anti-China placard during a protest in Istanbul, March 25, against the visit of China's FM Wang Yi to Turkey.
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Shirzat Bawudun, a former head of Xinjiang’s regional justice department, has been convicted of colluding with members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which has been listed as a terrorist group by the United Nations, as well as carrying out “illegal religious activities at his daughter’s wedding.”

Beijing has launched a sweeping security campaign in Xinjiang that has led to the detention of more than one million minority Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other minority Muslim groups in Xinjiang.  The Chinese government says the detainees are taught job skills and deradicalized from anti-Beijing sentiments, a stance strongly disputed by the United States, which has denounced the treatment of the Uyghurs as genocide.   

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