China executes nine for ethnic riots

China has executed nine people for taking part in July’s ethnic unrest in the western city of Ürümqi, according to a local state news agency.

The official Xinhau news agency reported that the nine were the first of those convicted in the riots to be executed. It said the sentences were carried out with the approval of the country’s supreme court; however, it was not immediately clear where the executions were carried out.

Violence erupted in the Xinjiang regional capital of Ürümqi on July 5, after Uighurs protested the deaths of two Uighur factory workers in a brawl with Han Chinese in southern China’s Guangdong province.

Uighurs said the protests turned violent when police cracked down on the rally. Protesters then attacked ethnic Han people in the regional capital. Two days later, Han Chinese staged revenge attacks. Nearly 200 people are believed to have been killed, but the official toll is much lower.

At least 21 people have been sentenced in connection with the Ürümqi riots, in crimes ranging from murder to arson, robbery, and destruction of property. Twelve people have been sentenced to death.

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