Nine more people in Xinjiang were jailed for up to 14 years on terror-related offences during a public sentencing in front of more than 3,000 people, state media said today.
The government of Qapqal, close to the border with Kazakhstan, also announced arrest warrants for a further 25 people and the detention of 14 others, the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily said on its website.
The crimes they have been found guilty of or are suspected of include calling for holy war, attending overseas terror training camps, separatism and fanning ethnic hatred, the newspaper said, citing the Qapqal government.
The announcement appeared to take place on a sports field, judging by a picture posted by the newspaper. The attendees included relatives and neighbours of those sentenced and religious figures, it added.
“Clearly recognise who is our enemy and who are brothers and sisters,” Li Wei, the Communist Party deputy chief of Qapqal county, was quoted as saying. “Resolutely smash the evil plots of the enemy.”
China has been toughening its response after a spate of bloody incidents nationwide centred on Xinjiang. The central government has blamed attacks on Islamist separatists in the region, who, it says, want to establish an independent state there called East Turkestan.
State media last month reported on another public mass sentencing, reminiscent of China's revolutionary-era rallies, attracting a crowd of 7,000 at a sports stadium in Yining city in the northern prefecture of Yili.
Exiled Uygur groups and human rights activists say the government's own repressive policies in Xinjiang, including controls on Islam, have provoked unrest - a claim Beijing denies.
Around 200 people have died in unrest in Xinjiang in the past year or so, the government says, including 13 people shot dead by police in a weekend attack on a police station.
At least 380 people have been detained in the last month in a sweeping crackdown on violence in Xinjiang.