China on April 6 sentenced two Uyghur former government officials of Xinjiang to death along with a two-year reprieve on charges including ‘separatism’ and bribe-taking. The latest action by China’s authoritarian regime against Xinjiang bureaucrats include Bawudan, a former head of the Xinjiang Department of justice and Sawut, a former director of the Xinjiang education department.
The vice president of the Xinjiang Higher People’s Court, Bawudun conspired with a terrorist organisation, took bribes, and also carried out separatist activities. Bawudun was held guilty for colluding with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which the UN has listed as a “terrorist” organisation. Last year, the US removed the terror group from its list, claiming that there was not enough evidence. Sattar Sawut, the former director of the Xinjiang education department has also been sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve. He was found guilty of separatism and accepting bribes. The court said the textbooks had influenced several people to participate in attacks in the capital Urumqi including riots that resulted in at least 200 deaths in 2009. China is currently facing global pressure to exhibit more accountability in its treatment of Muslim Uighurs in the region, which the United States has referred to as “genocide”, with several claims of human rights abuses.