[JURIST] A Chinese court on Monday sentenced 12 people to death and gave 15 others suspended death sentences for their involvement in attacks on a police station and government offices in south Xinjiang [official website, in Chinese] in July. Nine others were sentenced [ABC/Reuters report] to life imprisonment, and another 20 people received shorter sentences. According to a Xinjiang government news outlet, the defendants were convicted [BBC report] of several charges including organizing and participating in terror crimes, homicide and harming public safety. The sentences are part of a newly launched campaign against violence [Al Jazeera report] in Xinjiang and as such join a growing list of similarly harsh verdicts. According to authorities 96 people were killed in the July attacks, 59 of which were assailants shot by police.
China’s leadership seeks to ease public concerns and maintain stability in light of recent violence. In August Chinese officials in the western region of Xinjiang executed [JURIST report] eight individuals charged with terrorism- and separatism-related crimes. Earlier that month a “terror group” was arrested [BBC report] in Xinjiang with more than one ton of material for explosive devices. Also in August 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.