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China Sentences More Uighur Journalists to Prison

  • VOA News

A Muslim Uighur woman begs as armed Chinese paramilitary policemen march past on a street in Urumqi on the first anniversary of deadly unrest in the western Xinjiang region, 05 Jul 2010

A Chinese court in Xinjiang has jailed three more Uighur journalists for "endangering state security."

The Uighur American Association cited the Britain-based brother of one of the journalists as saying that Dilshat Perhat, Nureli, and Nijat Azat were sentenced to terms of three to 10 years.

The three were sentenced in a closed courtroom in the regional capital, Urumqi, last week. Court officials have not commented.

The men ran, respectively, the Uighur language websites known as Diyarim, Salkin, and Shabnam.

Last week, Uighur journalist Gheyret Niyaz was sentenced to 15 years in prison for speaking to foreign journalists about deadly riots in Xinjiang a year ago.

He, too, was found guilty of "endangering national security" -- a charge that Chinese authorities often impose on people who speak to foreign media about sensitive topics.

Nearly 200 people were killed and hundreds more injured in the rioting, the worst ethnic violence in China for decades. Authorities arrested hundreds of people, and about two dozen of them were sentenced to death.

Uighurs are an ethnic Turkic Muslim group linguistically and culturally distinct from Han Chinese, the country's majority ethnic group. Many Uighurs resent what they say is Beijing's heavy-handed control over Xinjiang. They also say they suffer from job discrimination and poverty.

Uighur exile groups say these factors, plus long-simmering resentment about ethnic Han migration to the region, led to the unrest. Beijing blames the deadly fighting on Uighur separatists.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters