Chinese courts sentenced 11 people to jail for inciting religious hatred related crimes in the northwestern Muslim region of Xinjiang, just days ahead of the fourth anniversary of deadly ethnic clashes.
A man was sentenced to six years in jail for uploading materials promoting Islamic holy war and ethnic hatred on the Internet, according to the Justice Ministry’s official newspaper Legal Daily.
Eight others were sentenced to between two and five years for rioting in the city of Kashgar, breaking into homes and destroying television sets in what authorities called a religious frenzy.
Two others were fined and given less serious administrative punishments of between five to 15 days for posting extremist material to a blog and spreading rumors of a suicide bombing on a popular Chinese messaging service.
The defendants’ ethnicity was not given but their names suggested they were from the minority Muslim Uighur group.
Sporadic outbreaks of violence have shook the region, reports BBC. About 200 people – mostly Han Chinese – were killed in violent clashes in July 2009.
Beijing authorities often blame violent incidents in Xinjiang on Uighur extremists seeking autonomy for the region. Meanwhile, Uighurs accuse Beijing of oppressing the minority group.