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A security officer stands guard as passengers line up and wait for a security check during morning rush hour at Tiantongyuan North Station in Beijing May 27, 2014. Beijing tightened security checks at subway stations since last Saturday, following an attack in China's troubled Xinjiang region which killed 31 people on May 22, the deadliest act of violence in the region in years.Reuters

China handed death sentences to eight people for being involved in two deadly attacks in the Xinjiang province this year that killed more than 45 people.

One person was killed in a knives-and-explosives attack at a railway station in Urumqi on 30 April. The next month, four attackers hurled explosives in a crowded market in the region, killing 39 people. The attackers in the two incidents were also killed.

The Xinjiang court also gave suspended death sentences (which is usually commuted to a life sentence) to five people for the attacks, while four others have been given prison terms.

The ethnic region in the country's far west has seen deadly violence in the recent past, with an attack last month killing 15 people.

Months earlier, almost 100 people were killed in a series of attacks in July.

China has initiated a crackdown on violence in the restive region that has claimed about 200 lives in the last two years.

The government has imposed a ban on practising religion in any state property in the Muslim-dominated Xinjiang region, which will come into effect from January 2015.

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