China jails 11 for inciting extremism, related crimes in Muslim region before riot anniversary

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China says it has sentenced 11 people for inciting religious extremism and related crimes in the northwestern Muslim region of Xinjiang.

The sentences handed down Wednesday come shortly before the July 5 anniversary of the bloodiest recent ethnic rioting in the region four years ago.

The Justice Ministry's official newspaper Legal Daily said Thursday that Aihetaimu Heli was given the harshest sentence of six years for uploading to the Internet materials promoting jihad and ethnic hatred.

Others were sentenced to up to five years for breaking into homes and destroying television sets in what the paper called a religious frenzy.

Xinjiang is home to China's ethnic Turkic Muslim Uighur minority and sees periodic outbreaks of anti-government and anti-Chinese violence. Authorities have responded with overwhelming force and repression.