China has sentenced to death four people over a series of deadly attacks, last year, in the restive northwestern Xinjiang region, a hotbed of ethnic unrest, state press said on Wednesday.
The executions have been approved by China's highest court in recent days, the Xinjiang Daily said on its website, meaning that they can be carried out at any time.
The names of the four appeared to indicate they were members of the Uighur ethnic minority, many of whom are strongly opposed to Chinese control of their homeland, which borders central Asia.
Two of those convicted, identified in Chinese as Tuerhong Tuerdi and Abudula Tueryacun, were involved in an August 19 bombing in Aksu, a city near China's border with Kyrgyzstan. Seven people were killed and 15 wounded when a vehicle loaded with explosives drove into a crowd on the outskirts of Aksu, the report said.
Following the explosion, police arrested four ethnic Uighurs as suspects in the blast, reports at the time said. Also facing execution is Akeneyacun Nuer, convicted of killing a policeman in the city of Khotan in November, and Abudukaiyoumu Abudureheman, who was found guilty of killing two people in Xinjiang's Hami region late last year with a homemade gun, the Xinjiang Daily said.
Officials at China's Supreme People's Court, which reviews all death verdicts, refused to comment when contacted by AFP.
In July 2009, the regional capital Urumqi, was rocked by violence pitting Uighurs against members of China's dominant Han group in some of the worst ethnic violence in the nation in decades. Nearly 200 people were killed and 1,700 injured, the government said.
China has blamed the 2009 unrest on "separatists", but provided no evidence of any organised campaign. More than 25 people have either been executed or received the death penalty for their involvement in the July 2009 violence, state media say.