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China: Two Xinjiang government officials sentenced to death over separatism charges

Both officials pleaded guilty and didn't file for an appeal

uighurs-china-reuters Uighur women stand next to a street to wait for a bus in downtown Urumqi, Xinjiang | Reuters

A former education officer and a former legal officer from the northwestern province of Xinjiang, China have been sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve. The government officials have been charged with separatism and bribe. 

Sattar Sawut and Shirzat Bawudun pleaded guilty and didn't file for an appeal. They are the latest of several Xinjiang bureaucrats to be sentenced on national security charges. The arrest is viewed as a campaign against officials who seek to undermine Chinese rule. Sawut was detained in 2018. It wasn't clear when Bawudun had been held. 

Sawut, the former head of the regional education department, took advantage of compiling and publishing ethnic language textbooks for schools to split the country, since 2002. 

He asked more people with separatist thoughts to join the textbook compilation team. Sawut has also been accused of accepting bribes.

Shirzat Bawudun, the former head of the Xinjiang regional justice department, was convicted for colluding with the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and splitting the country by offering help to separatists and religious extremists. Several other Uyghur academics and public figures have been arrested on charges of separatism. 

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