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Friday, 16 June, 2000, 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK
China executes five Uighurs

Xinjiang is predominantly Muslim
By Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Beijing

Chinese state media has reported the execution of five men accused of terrorism in the far north-west province of Xinjiang.

The five are all believed to be nationalists from the minority Uighur ethnic group, members of which have been fighting for many years against Chinese rule in the region.
xinjiang map

The state-run China News Service said the five had been convicted of trying to split the country, arms trafficking and murder.

They were executed by a bullet to the head, after a short public trial on Wednesday. Two other men were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Uprising

The term "trying to split the country" usually refers to the activities of Uighur Muslim separatists, who have been fighting against Chinese rule in Xinjiang for many years.

These men appear to have taken part in a major uprising in the city of Yining, close to the Kazakh border, in 1997.

During the fighting there, between ten and 100 people are thought to have died.

Torture

Human rights groups have accused China of widespread abuse of human rights in its attempt to suppress the separatist movement.

A report last year, by Amnesty International, said there was evidence of the systematic use of torture, of summary executions, arbitrary detentions and of unfair trials.

In the past three years, Chinese authorities are believed to have executed close to 200 people in Xinjiang on charges of terrorist activities.

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See also:

29 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
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11 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
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19 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
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