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20 now face death sentence for China riots

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • In all, 34 suspects have been prosecuted in Xinjiang clashes, China Daily reports
  • Resentment between Uyghurs and Han Chinese flared after a June melee in Guangdong
  • A massive brawl at the Guangdong toy factory resulted in the deaths of two Uyghurs
  • Xinhua: Man was sentenced to death, another to life imprisonment in brawl
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Beijing, China (CNN) -- Three more people were sentenced to death for their roles in riots that killed about 200 in western China in July, state media reported Friday.

One more person got life in prison, while three others received jail terms, China Daily reported.

That brings to at least 20 the total number of people who have received the death penalty as a result of the unrest.

On Thursday, five others received death sentences in a trial involving 13 suspects, China Daily reported. The remaining eight received prison time, according to the newspaper.

By Thursday, 34 suspects had been prosecuted in the violent ethnic clashes in China's Xinjiang autonomous region, the newspaper said.

The riots in July were prompted by long-simmering resentment between minority Uyghurs and majority Han Chinese. The Uyghurs are mostly Muslims in Xinjiang. Some Islamists refer to the region as East Turkistan.

The riots followed a June melee at a toy factory in Guangdong province, where many migrants, including Uyghurs, have moved in search of work, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency. The brawl led to the death of two Uyghurs, Xinhua said.

In September, China sent 7,000 officials to Urumqi to ease tensions after Han Chinese protested a series of random attacks, in which Uyghurs used syringes as weapons.

China's constitution guarantees ethnic minorities equal rights. However, minority groups such as the Uyghurs say the Han discriminate, and ethnic tensions run deep.