Xinjiang: over 100 dead in Eid violence
Chinese authorities now say more than 100 people were killed in violence in Xinjiang on July 28. The official Xinhua news agency says 59 attackers and 37 civilians lost their lives when a gang armed with knives and axes attacked a police station and government offices in Elixku township, Yarkand county (Chinese: Shache), Kashgar prefecture. Some moved on to the nearby Huangdi township, attacking civilians and smashing vehicles. Six vehicles were set on fire. In a separate incident, nine militants were shot dead and one captured in a rural area close to Hotan. More than 30,000 (presumably Han) civilians were reportedly mobilized in the "counter-terrorism" operation. The violence came on the day of the Eid al-Fitr festival, marking the end of Ramadan, and may have been in reaction to official restrictions on honoring the holy day. (SMH, Aug. 3; Xinhua, RFA, July 29)
On July 30, a 74-year-old imam who had angered many local Muslims by of his support for the Chinese Communist Party was stabbed to death outside the main mosque in Kasghar. Juma Tahir had served as a deputy of the National People's Congress. (LAT, July 31)
After being held for six months, Uighur dissident Ilham Tohti was formally charged with "separatism" July 30—a crime that carries the death penalty. (RSF, Aug. 1) The news comes as a prominent rights lawyer on Tohti's defense team has withdrawn from the case following intense pressure from her law firm. "After I got back from meeting with Tohti, my firm kept calling me in for meetings," Wang Yu told Radio Free Asia. "They admitted they were coming under pressure." (RFA, Aug. 1)
Eight executed in Xinjiang
China executed eight people on terrorism charges in Xinjiang, with at least one connected to last October's suicide car attack in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. No exact location for the execution was given, but the Xinhua account announcing them was datelined Urumqui.
China: Uighur scholar gets life in prison
Less than a week after a tightly controlled trial, the Intermediate People's Court in Urumqi on Sept. 23 found Ilham Tohti guilty of "separatism" and sentenced him to life in prison. The Uyghur American Association (UAA) condemned the sentence. "By heavily sentencing Professor Tohti, China has proven that it has no interest in peace in East Turkestan,” said UAA president Alim Seytoff in a statement. "China has shown to the whole world that it will show no mercy to any Uyghur who dares to challenge its repressive rule." (CNN, UAA)