Wed, Mar 25, 2015 - Page 1 News List

China executes three for Kunming mass stabbings

AFP, BEIJING

China has executed three people convicted of perpetrating a mass stabbing attack that killed 31 people last year, the nation’s top court said yesterday, with authorities blaming the attack on separatists from the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

Iskandar Ehet, Turgun Tohtunyaz and Hasayn Muhammad were put to death for “leading a terrorist organization and intentional homicide,” China’s Supreme People’s Court said in a microblog post.

China uses both lethal injection and firing squads for executions, but the method used this time was not specified.

The bloodshed in Kunming, Yunnan, left more than 140 people wounded and was dubbed “China’s Sept. 11” by state-run media.

Beijing blamed it on “separatists” from resource-rich Xinjiang, where at least 200 people have died in attacks and clashes between locals and security forces over the past year.

Incidents have grown in scale and sophistication and spread beyond the region, with the Kunming mass knifing the biggest such attack against civilians outside Xinjiang.

A woman convicted in the attack, Patigul Tohti, was pregnant at the time of her arrest and was sentenced to life in prison.

Human rights groups accuse the Chinese government of cultural and religious repression that they say fuels unrest in Xinjiang, which borders Central Asia.

Beijing defends its policies, saying that it has boosted economic development in the area and that it upholds minority and religious rights in a nation with 56 recognized ethnic groups.

China executes more people than the rest of the world combined, according to rights organizations. The nation put an estimated 2,400 people to death last year.

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