Updated: 06/16/2014 13:11 | By Agence France-Presse

China sentences three to death for Tiananmen attack: CCTV

Three people were sentenced to death Monday over a deadly suicide car crash in Beijing's symbolic heart Tiananmen Square, state-run media said, in China's latest move against militants from restive, mainly-Muslim Xinjiang.

China sentences three to death for Tiananmen attack: CCTV

Visitors gather on Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 4, 2014, - by Goh Chai Hin

One other person was given life in prison for the "violent terrorist attack" that killed two tourists last October, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said, citing the Intermediate People's Court in the Xinjiang capital Urumqi.

CCTV identified two of the accused with names that sounded Uighur, the largest ethnic group in the violence-racked region.

Four others were given sentences ranging from five to 20 years, CCTV said, but it was unclear what their exact roles were in the incident.

All three people in the car -- a man, his wife and his mother -- died in the attack, which saw their vehicle plough into crowds of tourists, killing two and wounding 40 other people before bursting into flames, authorities said at the time.

The incident was one of several violent attacks that have rocked China in recent months, and which Beijing has blamed on separatists from Xinjiang.

In March, a horrific knife assault at a railway station in the southern city of Kunming left 29 dead and 143 wounded. 

Last month, 39 people were killed, along with four assailants, and more than 90 wounded when attackers threw explosives and ploughed two off-road vehicles through a crowd at an Urumqi market.

The mostly-Muslim Uighur minority are concentrated in Xinjiang, deep in China's far west, where ethnic tensions and discontent with the government periodically burst out into violence.

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