China Issues New Death Sentences for Bloody Xinjiang Riots བོད་སྐད།

Officials in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang say five more people have been sentenced to death for taking part in the deadly ethnic riots in July.

The condemned prisoners were the latest to receive the death penalty in trials held in the regional capital Urumqi this week. A total of 22 people have been sentenced to die this week after being convicted for taking part in the rioting.

Nine people have already been executed, while five others sentenced to die were given a two-year reprieve, a punishment normally commuted to life in prison.

The names of the condemned suggest all of them are Uighurs.

Eight people received life sentences, while four others were sentenced to 10 or more years in jail.

Nearly 200 people were killed in the rioting, which began on July 5 as Uighur protesters attacked ethnic Han people in the city. Han Chinese staged revenge attacks on Uighurs two days later.

Uighurs are a Turkic Muslim ethnic group linguistically and culturally distinct from the Han. Many Uighurs resent Beijing's heavy-handed rule in Xinjiang, and government restrictions of religion and culture.

China blames the rioting on overseas-based groups agitating for broader rights for Uighurs in Xinjiang.

Rights groups and Uighur activists say Beijing exaggerates the threat from militants in the region to justify its harsh controls there.