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China Executes 8 on Terrorism Convictions

China is reported to have executed eight people from the restive northwestern region of Xinjiang who were convicted of terrorist attacks, including three men authorities say planned the deadly suicide attack last year in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

The official Xinhua news agency said Sunday that the group's crimes included manufacturing explosives, murder of government officials and establishment of a terrorist organization. All of the men were Muslim Uighurs, who have been engaging in an increasingly violent separatist movement. The executions took place in the Xinjiang region during the past several days.

Chinese police have arrested hundreds of people in Xinjiang and handed out many lengthy jail sentences to dozens.

Beijing said it was fighting foreign-backed fighters who wanted to form an independent state in Xinjiang called "East Turkestan." Many analysts outside China said Beijing was exaggerating the threat in order to justify its repressive policies.

China denies persecuting or discriminating against the Uighurs, saying it has invested billions of dollars into developing Xinjiang, which is home to a large quantity of natural resources, including oil and natural gas.

Some informaion for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.