The sentences ranged from seven years to 15 years after a trial in the Kashagar Prefecture Intermediate People's Court, state-run news agency reported on Friday.

They were convicted of using electronic devices to spread video and audio material to incite separatist activities, illegally set up preaching sites to spread religious extremism to children and youths, holding lectures to incite ethnic hatred and plotting to commit crimes with controlled knives, the report said.
    
South Xinjiang's Hotan, Kashgar and Aksu cities are areas overseas separatist forces attempt to penetrate most, where the majority of the population are Muslim Uygurs, it said.
    
China has deployed large number of security forces in the sprawling province bordering Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Afghanistan to deal with widespread unrest arising out of the protests by the native Muslim Uygurs over settlements of Han Chinese from other parts of China.

While the province witnessed a host of attacks stated to be from East Turkistan Islamic Movement, which China says is separatist outfit, militants from the province were blamed for recent knife attacks at railway stations in Kunming, Urumqi and Guangzhou.

(Agencies)

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