China executes 8 for separatist violence and related crimes

China executes 8 for separatist violence and related crimes

[JURIST] Chinese officials in the western region of Xinjiang [official website, in Chinese] executed eight individuals charged with terrorism- and separatism-related crimes on Saturday. According to a press release by China’s state-run news agency, the execution was conducted with approval [Xinhua report] by the Supreme People’s Court [official website, in Chinese]. Three of the executed individuals were sentenced during a mass trial [JURIST report] in May, in which 55 people were sentenced for terrorism-related charges before a crowd of more than 70,000 onlookers. The crimes of the other five [NYT report] included “organizing, leading and participating in a terror organization; intentional homicide; arson; illegally making, storing and transporting explosives; and jeopardizing public safety by dangerous means.”

China’s leadership seeks to ease public concerns and maintain stability in light of recent violence. Earlier this week a “terror group” was arrested [BBC report] in Xinjiang with more than one ton of material for explosive devices. Last week 31 people were killed, and more than 90 injured, when two cars drove through a busy street market in Xinjiang, setting off explosives [Guardian report]. In April both a bombing and a knife attack [CNN report] occurred in the South Railway Station of Urumqi.