Beijing | Local authorities said Tuesday evening that two senior former Uyghur officials had been sentenced to death for “separatism” in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region.
Also read: An increasingly troubling empire
These sentences were accompanied by a two-year stay of execution – in practice, this sentence was reduced to life imprisonment.
The two officials head respectively the departments of justice and education in the region, which is a site of tension between the Muslim majority (mainly Uyghurs) and the Han (ethnic Chinese) minority.
Many countries, including the United States, are provoking “genocide” against the Uyghurs.
Human rights organizations accuse Beijing of having detained more than a million Uighurs since 2017 in political re-education centers.
The Communist regime denies this figure and asserts that they are “vocational training centers” aimed at keeping the Uyghurs away from Islamism and separatism, after a series of attacks that have been attributed to them.
In this context, former Xinjiang Justice Minister Sherzat Baudun was found guilty of conspiring with the Islamic Movement of East Turkistan (METO) after meeting with a member of that organization in 2003 while working at that time in the police force, according to the New China Agency.
Mito is on the United Nations list of terrorist organizations, but was removed from the US list last November, as Washington said it doubted the movement’s continued existence.
East Turkestan is the name given to Xinjiang by Uyghurs in exile to defend independence.
The judiciary also accuses Mr. Bowdon of engaging in “illegal religious activities during the marriage of his daughter.”
For his part, the former Regional Education Minister, Sattar Sawt, was convicted of including Uyghur language books an apology for separatism, terrorism and religious extremism, according to the local government website.
These brochures have been in use for 13 years.
China does not publish the number of death sentences handed down each year or the number of executions, but Amnesty International says the country is the first in the world to use the death penalty, with thousands of convictions and executions each year.