|About 7,000 people and government officials in Ili prefecture on Tuesday attend the "mass gathering for public sentencing. [photo / Xinhua]|
A mass sentencing of 55 people for crimes including terrorism took place in a stadium in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region as China continued its crackdown on escalating violence.
About 7,000 people and government officials in Ili prefecture on Tuesday attended the "mass gathering for public sentencing, public arrests and public criminal detention, punishing a group of violent terrorist criminals in accordance with the law," Xinhua news agency reported.
Judicial officials at the stadium issued punishments for crimes including murder, separatism and organizing, leading or participating in a terrorist group, as well as harboring criminals and rape.
Three were sentenced to death for using hatchets and other weapons to murder a family of four last year "using extremely cruel methods," Xinhua said.
Police also announced the formal arrests of 38 suspects and detained another 27.
Photographs showed armed officers guarding the premises, and the accused crammed into backs of lorries wearing orange vests and bent forward to face the ground as helmeted security forces stood over them.
The event on Tuesday was intended to demonstrate authorities' "resolute determination to crack down on the 'three forces' of violent terrorism," Ili's deputy Party chief was cited as saying, referring to separatism, extremism and terrorism.
A senior official in Ili was investigated recently for "having an equivocal attitude toward violent terrorist incidents."