Skip to main content

Three death sentences for Tiananmen Square attackers

By Zoe Li, CNN
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Mon June 16, 2014
Smoke rises from the scene of a fatal car crash attack in 2013 at Tiananmen Square.
Smoke rises from the scene of a fatal car crash attack in 2013 at Tiananmen Square.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Eight people stood trial for a deadly 2013 attack at in Tiananmen Square that left six dead
  • Three accused have been given handed death sentences by a court in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang
  • One other person has been sentenced to life imprisonment

(CNN) -- Three people have been sentenced to death on Monday for their roles in a deadly attack in Beijing's Tiananmen Square last October, state television CCTV reported on its microblog.

Another defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment, while four others received prison terms between five and 20 years.

The trial that began on June 13 took place at a court in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in western China.

Recently Xinjiang has been at the center of a spate of attacks, labeled terrorism by the authorities. A number of Uyghurs, a Turkic-speaking, predominantly Muslim ethnic group who largely populate the province, have been implicated in an increasingly violent separatism movement.

The sentenced people in a Urumqi courtroom. Photo from CCTV.  The sentenced people in a Urumqi courtroom. Photo from CCTV.
The sentenced people in a Urumqi courtroom. Photo from CCTV.The sentenced people in a Urumqi courtroom. Photo from CCTV.
Xinjiang attacks shifting to civilians
Tensions in western China
Urumqi on edge before deadly anniversary

It is unclear what exact role the sentenced people -- with names that sound Uyghur -- played in the Tiananmen incident that occurred October 28, 2013.

A vehicle drove through security barriers into a crowd in the square when it crashed into a pedestrian bridge in front of the Forbidden City and burst into flames. The attack killed six people, including three in the vehicle, and wounded 39 others. Police caught all suspects some ten hours after the attack.

Not along after the incident, one Islamic militant group called the strike a "jihadi operation" and warned of more violence to come.

In a speech posted online, Abdullah Mansour, the leader of the Turkestan Islamic Party, said those who carried out the attack were "mujahideen," the SITE Intelligence group said in a report. East Turkestan is the name used by many Uyghur groups to refer to Xinjiang.

Some Uyghurs have expressed resentment toward China's Han majority in recent years over what they say is harsh treatment from Chinese security forces and Han people taking the lion's share of economic opportunities in Xinjiang.

Uyghurs are said to have faced widespread discrimination, including in employment, housing and educational opportunities, as well as curtailed religious freedom and political marginalization.

READ: Indictments in last year's Tiananmen Square attack

READ: China's restive far west

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:51 AM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
David McKenzie meets some American teenagers who are spending a year in China to be fully immersed in the culture.
updated 9:59 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
Chinese students show a handmade red ribbon one day ahead of the the World AIDS Day, at a school in Hanshan, east China's Anhui province on November 30, 2009.
The Chinese government pledges to protect a boy with HIV, who was shunned by his entire village in Sichuan, state media reported.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A Chinese couple allegedly threw hot water on a flight attendant and threatened to blow up the plane.
updated 12:03 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China's 1.3 billion citizens may soon find it much harder to belt out their national anthem at will.
updated 7:21 PM EST, Tue December 9, 2014
Los Angeles in the last century went through its own smog crisis. The city's mayor says LA's experience delivers valuable lessons for Beijing.
updated 12:42 AM EST, Sat December 6, 2014
At the height of his power, security chief Zhou Yongkang controlled China's police, spy agencies and courts. Now, he's under arrest.
updated 3:26 AM EST, Fri December 5, 2014
China says it will end organ transplants from executed prisoners but tradition means that donors are unlikely to make up the shortfall.
updated 1:48 AM EST, Fri December 5, 2014
China's skylines could look a lot more uniform in the years to come, if a statement by a top Beijing official is to believed.
updated 3:55 AM EST, Wed December 3, 2014
Despite a high-profile anti-corruption drive, China's position on an international corruption index has deteriorated in the past year.
updated 7:01 AM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
A daring cross-border raid by one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's associates has -- so far -- yet to sour Sino-Russian relations.
updated 7:51 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
A 24-hour bookstore in Taipei is a popular hangout for both hipsters and bookworms.
updated 8:53 PM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
China is building an island in the South China Sea that could accommodate an airstrip, according to IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.
updated 5:57 AM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
North Korean refugees and defectors face a daunting journey to reach asylum in South Korea, with gangs of smugglers the only option.
updated 6:19 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
China and "probably one or two other" countries have the capacity to shut down the nation's power grid and other critical infrastructure.
ADVERTISEMENT