China Sentences 2 to Death for Xinjiang Attacks བོད་སྐད།

A Chinese court has sentenced two people to death in connection with an August attack in the far western region of Xinjiang that killed 17 police and wounded 15 others.

The attack came just days before the start of the Beijing Olympics.

China's official Xinhua news agency described the two men, Abdurahman Azat and Kurbanjan Hemit, as terrorists. The report quotes a statement from China's Supreme Court, which says the two were also found guilty of illegally making guns, ammunition and explosives.

The court says the attack on border police was meant to sabotage the Beijing Olympic Games. The attack took place in Kashgar near China's border with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Xinjiang is home to the Uighur people, a largely Muslim ethnic group. Many Uighurs are unhappy with what they say has been years of repressive communist Chinese rule.

Critics accuse China of using claims of terrorism as an excuse to crack down on pro-independence sentiment and expressions of Uighur identity.

Chinese authorities have said that Uighur militants seeking to turn the region into an independent "East Turkestan" are among the biggest threats to the country's stability.

The attack on August fourth was the start of a wave of violence in Xinjiang.

About a week later, bombers targeted a police station, government building, bank and shops in the west-central Xinjiang county of Kuqa. Police said they killed 10 attackers and that a security guard and bystander died in the violence.

On August 12th, attackers jumped from a vehicle and stabbed civilian guards, killing three of them at a roadside checkpoint in a town near Kashgar. The assailants escaped.

No one has claimed responsibility for any of the attacks.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Xinhua.