Authorities in northwestern China’s troubled Xinjiang region have detained 17 people for encouraging the region’s mostly Muslim Uyghurs to fast during the holy month of Ramadan, overseas rights groups said on Monday.
Villagers in a remote part of northwestern China’s troubled Xinjiang region are being forced by local authorities to spy on their neighbors, watching constantly for behavior deemed “suspicious” or opposed to Beijing’s rule over the mostly Muslim Uyghur region, sources say.
Chinese authorities have issued a ban on 22 Muslim names among Uyghur residents of Hoten prefecture in northwestern China’s troubled Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to discourage extremism, threatening to forbid children with such names from attending school unless their parents change them, according to local police and residents.
Policy directives ordering ethnic Uyghur shopkeepers in China’s Xinjiang region to stock alcohol and cigarettes are failing in their intended effect, with consumers refusing to buy the products and openly mocking the government’s apparent bid to undermine local Islamic custom, sources say.
The Silk Road trading centre of Kashgar has been Muslim for centuries, but despite hordes of people thronging the main bazaar, Gulnur’s headscarf shop had barely any customers.
The Chinese authorities have been doing all they can to discourage Muslim Uighurs from fasting since Ramadan began. Free slices of watermelon were handed out in the middle of the day at Urumqi’s University of Medicine in Xinjiang, a region with a huge Muslim Uighur population.
Authorities in north-western China’s troubled Xinjiang region have ordered government workers to closely monitor the daily movements of ethnic Uyghurs during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, with at least one county issuing guidelines calling for the intrusive searches of convenience stores, repair shops, and mosques.
Adding to Uighur Muslims’ concerns, some parts of the far western Xinjiang district have banned Muslim party members, civil servants, students and teachers from fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, reviving every year’s religious restrictions.
Harsh policies enacted by a newly appointed Communist Party secretary to a Uyghur-populated county in northwestern China’s Xinjiang region are causing great hardship to county residents, while filling a local prison with those found to be in violation of the laws, sources say.
A group of five Muslim ethnic Uyghur men who sport “crescent moon-shaped” beards are on trial in northwestern China’s Xinjiang region for “religious extremism” after they were found to have secretly attended unsanctioned Islamic sermons, according to a Uyghur member of the ruling Communist Party.