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3 sentenced in China over syringe stabbings

  • Story Highlights
  • Three people sentenced to up to 15 years in prison over series of syringe stabbings
  • The stabbings triggered unrest in China's western city of Urumqi
  • Uyghurs are accused of using hypodermic needles to stab hundreds of people
  • Resentment between Uyghurs and Han Chinese erupted earlier into deadly riots
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(CNN) -- Three people were sentenced Saturday to up to 15 years in prison over a series of syringe stabbings that triggered unrest in China's western city of Urumqi, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Court hearings began in the morning.

The syringe attacks began August 17, a month after long-simmering resentment between minority Uyghurs and majority Han Chinese erupted into riots and left more than 200 people dead.

Uyghurs are accused of using hypodermic needles to stab hundreds of people from several ethnic groups, including Han Chinese. Many of the victims had to be hospitalized, authorities said.

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Police had promised harsh punishment for whoever was convicted in the stabbings: life imprisonment or the death penalty, government officials said.

The Han Chinese are the country's dominant ethnic group. The Uyghurs are a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority who consider Xinjiang their homeland.

All About ChinaXinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region

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