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China jails four over stabbings

17 September 09 13:36 GMT

Four more people have been found guilty of carrying out attacks with syringes in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang, state-run television says.

The four received sentences ranging between eight and 15 years in jail.

Three other people received prison sentences for similar attacks earlier this month.

Reports of stabbings with needles began in August, a month after clashes between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese left almost 200 people dead.

Despite rumours that the needles contained toxic substances, officials say they have found no evidence of poisoning in blood samples from alleged victims.

Correspondents say the names of the latest four to be convicted indicate they are Uighurs while the name of the female victim indicates she is from the Han community.

Officials in Xinjiang say more than 500 people have reported being attacked with needles, with 171 showing "obvious syringe marks".

Thousands of Han Chinese in the regional capital Urumqi have staged angry protests calling for better security since the attacks began.

At least five people have died in the unrest.

Chinese authorities have blamed Uighur separatists for July's violence.

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