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Page last updated at 09:29 GMT, Thursday, 15 October 2009 10:29 UK

Death sentences for Xinjiang riot

A Chinese court has sentenced a further six people to death over ethnic unrest in the far-western region of Xinjiang in July, state-run media report.

Nearly 200 people were killed during riots between ethnic Uighurs and members of China's dominant Han group.

The six were part of a group of 14 people who went on trial on Wednesday, charged with crimes including murder, robbery and arson.

A total of 12 people have now been sentenced to death after the riots.

The six were sentenced to death at a court in Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang, Xinhua news agency reports.

Growing tensions

Activists have condemned the trials as a sham, saying they have lacked transparency and fairness.

A protest by Uighurs in Urumqi erupted into violence on 5 July, leaving at least 197 people killed and another 1,700 injured.

Shops were smashed and vehicles set alight and passers-by set upon by rioters.

Hundreds of people were detained after the violence and, according to Xinhua, 21 people have been charged.

Tensions between the mainly-Muslim Uighurs of Xinjiang and Han have been growing in recent years. Millions of Han have moved to the region in recent decades.

Many Uighurs want more autonomy and rights for their culture and religion - Islam - than is allowed by China's strict centrist rule.

According to a government white paper on Xinjiang, released last month, the July riots were caused by Uighur separatists promoting an independent "East Turkestan".



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