Security sphere situation



Authorities in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwestern China have reported that they uncovered a separatist criminal group operating in the education sector, Xinhua News Agency reported on April 6.

The leader of the group was the former head of the Xinjiang Department of Education and of the lead regional working group for basic education curriculum reform, Sattar Sawut.

He pushed for the inclusion of propaganda of ethnic separatism, violence, terrorism and religious extremism in textbooks published in the languages ​​of national minorities. These books had been used to teach children for 13 years. This had grave consequences, as Wang Langtao, vice chairman of the Xinjiang Region Supreme People's Court, said at the news conference.

Sattar Sawut was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve after he was found guilty of supporting separatism, accepting bribes and committing a number of other crimes. Sattar Sawut, born in November 1947 in Toksun County, Xinjiang, pleaded guilty to the crimes and did not file an appeal against the verdict.

Sattar Sawut took advantage of compiling and publishing ethnic language textbooks for primary and secondary schools to split the country, starting in 2002. He created a criminal group of people with similar separatist thoughts to join the textbook compilation team, as the court found.

It was also established that Sattar Sawut strongly demanded incorporating content that preached ethnic separatism, violence, terrorism, and religious extremism into the textbooks to split the state.

The investigation also found that 84 texts preached ethnic separatism, violence, terrorism, and religious extremism in the 2003 and 2009 editions of the textbooks.

Under the influence of the textbooks, several people (already convicted) participated in terrorist attacks in Urumqi on July 5, 2009, and April 30, 2014, respectively, or became key members of a separatist group headed by former college teacher Ilham Tohti, the court found.

Sattar Sawut also took advantage of his government posts to accept bribes amounting to 15.05 million yuan (about 2.3 million U.S. dollars) in total, the court sentence said.