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Monday, June 16, 2014 - 10:58am

China Sentences 3 To Death For Tiananmen Attack

Updated: 1 year ago.
Police cars block off the roads leading into Tiananmen Square as smoke rises into the air after a vehicle crashed in front of Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on Oct. 28.

A Chinese court has sentenced three people to be executed for their roles in a deadly attack at Beijing's Tiananmen Gate in October in which an SUV plowed into a crowd of bystanders then crashed and burst into flames, killing five and wounding 40.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports that the three were sentencing in China's western Xinjiang region for leading a terrorist group and endangering public security.

As we reported at the time, "a car crashed into a bridge near the Forbidden City ... near the iconic portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong. [It] was described by police ... as a 'violent terror attack' that was 'carefully planned and organized.'"

"The men's names suggest that they are ethnic Uighurs. Five others received sentences of five years to life for plotting the attack in Beijing," Anthony says.

Three of the attackers, who were inside the vehicle, were part of the five killed in the attack.

In separate incidents, 13 others were also given death sentences on terrorist charges in which Xinhua says they "ruthlessly killed police officers, government officials and civilians, which took innocent lives, caused huge property losses and seriously endangered public security."

Reuters says: "Xinjiang is the traditional home of Muslim Uighurs who speak a Turkic language, and China has blamed previous attacks on Islamist separatists it says seek to establish an independent state there called East Turkestan."

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