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Man tried for blackmail through distorted ethnic, religious policies

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A court in Central China's Henan Province has heard testimony against a man accused of distorting ethnic and religious policies to blackmail construction companies.

The 35-year old man, surnamed Tian, is a member of the Hui ethnic minority and is from Zhongwei, Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. He took 18 people to apply to work at different construction sites in China from July 29 to August 16, 2017 demanding their employers to provide food and accommodations for Hui ethnic groups. 

After their demands were not met, the gang started a riot and forced the construction contractors to compensate them for food and travel expenses by distorting China's policies on religion and ethnic minorities. The group extorted 58,500 yuan ($9,325), according to a post on the WeChat account of the Henan Provincial People's Procuratorate.

The members of the gang were arrested when they attempted to extort a construction site in Henan's Anyang city on August 16, 2017. Two members remain at large, said the post.

The Wenfeng district People's Court in Anyang tried the case on February 2, but no verdict was handed down.

The case is the latest example in Anyang's crackdown on mafia-style gangsters, in line with the country's new campaign against organized crime and officials who shelter criminal organizations since last month, said the WeChat post.

Mafia-style gangsters and individuals who shelter gang members have been encouraged to surrender before March 1, according to an official circular issued by the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, and the ministries of public security and justice on Monday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.



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