Death penalty for 2 former Xinjiang officials

Both men pleaded guilty and neither would file an appeal.

China has sentenced a former education official and a former legal official in the northwestern region of Xinjiang to death with a two-year reprieve on charges including separatism and bribe taking.

Sattar Sawut and Shirzat Bawudun were sentenced on national security charges in a campaign against “two-faced officials” who are seeking to undermine Chinese rule from within the system.

Both men pleaded guilty and neither would file an appeal, said Wang Langtao, vice president of Xinjiang’s regional higher people’s court, at a press conference on Tuesday.

The court said Sattar Sawut, the former head of the regional education department, incorporated ethnic separatism, violence, terrorism, and religious extremism content into minority-language textbooks. He was born in November 1947 in Toksun County, Xinjiang,

“Sattar Sawut took advantage of compiling and publishing ethnic language textbooks for primary and secondary schools to split the country, starting in 2002. He instructed others to pick several people with separatist thoughts to join the textbook compilation team, the court found,” said Wang.

Also sentenced were three other education officials and two textbook editors, according to a documentary released by state broadcaster CCTV last week.

The court said textbooks approved by Sattar Sawut were used for 13 years, bringing grave consequences. It said the 2003 and 2009 editions of the textbooks contained 84 passages preaching ethnic separatism, violence, terrorism and religious extremism and that several people were inspired by the books to participate in terrorist attacks in Urumqi on July 5, 2009, and April 30, 2014, respectively, or became key members of a separatist group headed by former college teacher Ilham Tohti.

Sattar Sawut also took advantage of his government posts to accept bribes worth 15.05 million yuan (US$2.3 million), the court said.

Court authorities have also revealed crimes committed by Shirzat Bawudun, a former government official who had conspired with a terrorist organization and carried out separatist activities under cover of his identity as an official.

Shirzat Bawudun, born in 1966 in Luopu County, Hotan Prefecture, was the former head of the public security bureau of Moyu County of Hotan and the former head of the Xinjiang regional department of justice, said Wang.

Shirzat Bawudun was convicted of “splitting the country” for having colluded with the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and having offered help to separatists and religious extremists, and collaborated with overseas separatist forces. The ETIM is listed as a terrorist group by the United Nations.

Shirzat Bawudun met with ETIM representatives and encouraged others to join the group, Wang said. He also carried out illegal religious activities at his daughter’s wedding and accepted bribes totaling 11.12 million yuan, Wang said.

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