China executed two people today for what a court described as an attempt to sabotage the Beijing Olympics with an attack that killed 17 police.
The two were sentenced in December after being convicted of intentional homicide and illegally producing guns, ammunition and explosives, the country’s official news agency reported.
They were found guilty of carrying out a terrorist attack in the far-west region of Xinjiang in an effort to “sabotage” the Beijing Olympic Games.
The August 4 attack, four days before the start of last year’s Olympics, took place in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar near the border with Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Two men stole a truck and rammed it into a group of police on their morning jog. The men continued attacking with home made bombs and knives, killing the officers and wounding 15 others.
The attackers were Abdurahman Azat, 33, a vegetable peddler, and Kurbanjan Hemit, 28, a taxi driver, both of Kashgar.
Before the attack, they wrote a letter saying they had to wage “holy war,” and their mission was more important than their lives and mothers.
Chinese authorities say militants among the Uighurs – Turkic-speaking Muslims - are leading a violent Islamic separatist movement in Xinjiang and are seeking to set up an independent state in the Central Asian border province.
Critics accuse Beijing of using claims of terrorism as an excuse to crack down on peaceful pro-independence sentiment and expressions of Uighur identity.