China Issues Guilty Verdicts in Packed Stadium

Government makes a show of force on terrorism charges
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 28, 2014 6:31 PM CDT
China Issues Guilty Verdicts in Packed Stadium
Chinese residents and officials attend a public sentencing of 55 people dressed in orange vests in a stadium in Yili, in northern Xinjiang province.   (AP Photo)

A Chinese court announced guilty verdicts for 55 people on charges of terrorism, separatism, and murder, all the more notable because it happened in a stadium filled with 7,000 people. The public event was a show of force in Xinjiang after 43 people were killed last week in an attack at a vegetable market in the regional capital, Urumqi. At least one convict received a death sentence, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

The report gave few details about the cases, but defendants whose names were reported all appeared to be Uighurs, members of the region's biggest Muslim ethnic minority group. The government says unrest among Uighurs is caused by extremist groups with ties to Islamic terror groups abroad, but experts say they see little evidence of that. Uighur activists say public resentment against Beijing is fueled by an influx of settlers from China's Han ethnic majority and official discrimination against minorities. (More China stories.)

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