China executed two people in restive far-west Xinjiang yesterday after a court convicted them over a deadly attack on police in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics last August, while a court in Tibet has condemned two people to die for their roles in violent riots in Lhasa last year, Xinhua news agency reported.
The brief report about Xinjiang did not give details of the executed, but they may have been two men sentenced to death in December. Xinhua said they were found guilty over a “terrorist attack on a frontier city’s border police that left 17 dead” and which came despite tightened security ahead of the Summer Games.
The attackers rammed a truck into police on a morning training run on Aug. 4 in the oasis city of Kashgar, following up their attack with explosives, a homemade gun and knives, state-run media reported at the time.
China had warned of unrest by groups seeking to exploit the world’s attention on China in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.
In December, two Kashgar residents, Abdurahman Azat and Kurbanjan Hemit, were convicted of homicide and illegally producing guns, ammunition and explosives by a court which sentenced them to death, Xinhua reported at the time.
Chinese officials have said Uighur militants seeking an independent “East Turkestan” are among the biggest threats to the country’s stability, a key issue ahead of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic on Oct 1.
But human rights groups and Uighur independence activists say Beijing grossly exaggerates the threat to justify harsh controls.
Meanwhile, a court in Tibet has sentenced two people to death for their roles in last year’s violent riots in Lhasa, China’s state media said on Wednesday, the first death sentences reported over the deadly unrest.
Two others were given suspended death sentences while another was given life in prison in three separate arson cases, said the report, which quoted a spokesman for the intermediate court in the Tibetan capital.
Fierce anti-China riots broke out in Lhasa in March last year and spread across Tibet and adjacent areas with Tibetan populations, deeply embarrassing the Chinese government as it was preparing to host the Beijing Summer Olympics.
The defendants all appeared to be Tibetans who carried out attacks that killed Han Chinese, according to names provided by Xinhua.