A court in western China has reduced the sentences of 11 Uighurs convicted of terrorism and endangering state security, including a naturalized Canadian preacher previously serving a life term.

The new duration of Huseyin Celil's sentence has not been announced, but the decision was lauded by activist John Kamm, who has pressed for Celil's release on behalf of the Canadian government.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported late Monday that sentences of 11 Uighurs at Xinjiang's First Prison were commuted but did not specifically name Celil, whose sentence in 2006 drew sharp criticism from Ottawa.

Four prisoners, including a man convicted of contacting the East Turkestan Islamic Movement and setting up militant training bases in Afghanistan, saw lengthy prison terms reduced to six months.