• Sat
  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 11:10pm
NewsChina
RELIGION

Beijing bans Xinjiang officials and schools from participating in Ramadan

Authorities bar students, teachers and civil servants in Uygur-populated region – following similar restrictions in recent years

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 July, 2014, 2:32pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 July, 2014, 3:03pm
 

Beijing has banned civil servants, students and teachers in the mainly Muslim Xinjiang region from taking part in Ramadan fasting, government websites said.

This has prompted condemnation from an exile group today.

The ruling Communist party is officially atheist, and for years has restricted fasting in Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uygur minority.

Xinjiang sees regular and often deadly clashes between Uygurs and state security forces, and Beijing has blamed recent deadly attacks elsewhere in the country on militants seeking independence for the resource-rich region.

Rights groups blame tensions on religious and cultural restrictions placed on Uygurs and other Muslim minorities in the vast area, which abuts Central Asia.

Several government departments posted notices on their websites in recent days banning fasting during Ramadan, which began this weekend. During the holy month, the faithful fast from dawn to dusk and strive to be more pious.

The commercial affairs bureau of Turfan city said on its website on Monday that "civil servants and students cannot take part in fasting and other religious activities".

The state-run Bozhou Radio and TV University said on its website that it would "enforce the ban on party members, teachers, and young people from taking part in Ramadan activities".

"We remind everyone that they are not permitted to observe a Ramadan fast," it added.

A weather bureau in Qaraqash county in western Xinjiang said on its website that "in accordance with instructions from higher authorities", it "calls on all current and retired staff not to fast during Ramadan".

A state office which manages the Tarim River basin posted pictures of its staff wearing traditional Uyghur "doppa" caps tucking into a group meal on Saturday.

"Although the meal coincided with the Muslim festival of Ramadan, the cadres who took part expressed a positive attitude and will lead the non-fasting," it said.

Beijing has in the past said that restrictions on fasting are meant to ensure the health of government employees.

Dilxadi Rexiti, a spokesman for the exiled World Uygur Congress, cited local sources as saying that authorities encouraged Uygurs to eat free meals on Monday, and inspected homes to check if the fast was being observed.

"China taking these kind of coercive measures, restricting the faith of Uygurs, will create more conflict," he said.

"We call on China to ensure religious freedom for Uygurs and stop political repression of Ramadan."

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This article is now closed to comments

jiawang@adb.org
"Winning friends and influencing people."
Poor China!! It just doesn't get it.
"By banning civil servants, students, and teachers taking part in Ramadan fasting,"
China is just making it easier for Uygurs to be recruited in Pakistan.
Who is in charge of propaganda, Chen Guangbiao?
Marcus T Anthony
I think this is all a publicity stunt to promote the new Dumb and Dumber movie.
Imagine the chaos if a western country did this? If China isn't careful it will become the major world target of Islamic fundamentalist jihadis. It might already be just that.
yty07
It is so absurd....people there have no even freedom of "not eating".
Dai Muff
And how will that be enforced?
chaz_hen
Way to win hearts 'n minds, greaseheads...
Beaker
That's right, crush a culture's core practices to discourage their hatred for you. Nice. This move will not make any Wee-ju feel that their existence is being methodically destroyed. No, not at all. Now, apply that towards such ignorant views towards HK and see what is looming. Tie-1 is watching. Sort of imagine if Christmas will be banned and everyone must work on Christmas day, even if it is on weekends.
liukuei
Is it for real? It reads like an April Fools day story. "calls on all current and retired staff not to fast during Ramadan." Retired staff will be forced-fed if they don't comply? Are retirees under surveillance?
lamlm38
just beyond me how insensitive and intolerant these commie **** are!! now wonder these Uygur s going suicidal!!
acny
For every little action, there's a reaction.
lamlm38
exactly, if ordinary Han Chinese are knifed I wonder who to blame :)

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