Asia-Pacific

China 'jails three Uighurs' for website work

Chinese paramilitary policemen march past on a street in Urumqi on July 5, 2010
Image caption Xinjiang has been under tight security since the riots last July

China has jailed three ethnic Uighur website owners as it clamps down on dissent a year after deadly ethnic riots in Xinjiang, say reports.

An exiled activist group, the Uyghur American Association (UAA), said the three men were sentenced to 10, five and three years respectively.

Officials have not confirmed the charges or the sentences.

In last year's violence between Uighurs and Han Chinese, the authorities say nearly 200 people were killed.

The three men who were reportedly jaioled had founded or managed Uighur-language websites.

They were identified as Dilshat Perhat, webmaster of Diyarim; Nureli, webmaster of Salkin; and Nijat Azat, webmaster of Shabnam.

The websites, among the most popular in the Uighur language, were blocked by the Chinese authorities last year.

UAA quoted a brother of one of the men saying they were sentenced last week.

The men were convicted of "endangering state security" during a one-day trial, said Mr Perhat's brother, Dilmurat Perhat, who lives in London.

"We didn't do anything against the Chinese government on the Diyarim website," the brother was quoted saying. "There were tens of thousands of people accessing the website every day."

Court officials would not confirm the reports.

Separately, a Uighur journalist, Gheyret Niyaz,was jailed last week for 15 years for speaking to foreign journalists during last year's riots.

"The Chinese government is suffocating Uighur voices," said the Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer, who lives in the US.

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