Western China city seeks to banish Muslim veil

Published: December 15, 2011

Campaign to discourage veils and growing long beards in a bid to "dilute religious consciousness," say media reports. PHOTO: REUTERS/ FILE

BEIJING: A city in heavily Muslim far western China has begun a campaign to discourage veils and growing long beards in a bid to “dilute religious consciousness”, media reports said on Thursday.      

The notice by the government in the Xinjiang city of Yining was uploaded in full by several Chinese news websites, and by Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television, though it then vanished from the Yining government’s website (www.yining.gov.cn).

Many Uighurs, a Turkic language-speaking Muslim people native to Xinjiang, resent Chinese rule and controls on their religion, culture and language, and the region has seen sporadic cases of violent unrest.

The notice said the government in the Dunmaili district of Yining had decided to “further implement the Party’s activities to dilute religious consciousness and advocate a civilised and healthy lifestyle.”

One of the campaign’s aims, it said, was to end the “the abnormal phenomenon” of ethnic minority women and youth wearing Arab dress, growing long beards or covering their faces in veils.

Women who had already “been transformed” would be invited to hold talks to discuss their experience, as would women who had launched successful careers.

Yining government officials declined to comment when contacted by telephone.

Hou Hanmin, a Xinjiang government spokeswoman, told Reuters she was not aware of the notice, but that generally people in the region were free to wear what they wanted, including ethnic minorities.

“However, for certain jobs and in education there are rules about what you cannot wear simply as a matter of convenience,” she said by telephone.

Yining, also known as Ghulja or Yili, has a population of some 515,000 people, about 46 percent of whom are Uighur, according to the 2010 census figures. It was the site of deadly riots in 1997.

While Uighurs have traditionally practiced a more relaxed form of Islam, parts of Xinjiang have become noticeably more conservative and Islamic over the past few years, despite government efforts to reverse that trend.

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Reader Comments (60)

  • Feroz
    Dec 15, 2011 - 12:07PM

    Whatever goes on in China is fine with Pakistan, other countries following same practice will be criticized vehemently.

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  • alicia
    Dec 15, 2011 - 12:11PM

    Lets see if JUD or jamat-islami come to street against our all-weather friend

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Dec 15, 2011 - 12:34PM

    Et tu, China?

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  • saleem
    Dec 15, 2011 - 12:57PM

    Lets congratulate the Chinese for taking a good step

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  • Iron hand
    Dec 15, 2011 - 1:05PM

    China knows the score, just like everyone else in the world.

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  • imran najam
    Dec 15, 2011 - 1:09PM

    It’s their country,their rules.loyalty to one’s country comes first,loyalty to anything else is secondary.

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  • abbas
    Dec 15, 2011 - 1:15PM

    For Allah’s sake we as a nation must stop poking nose in business of other nations. Let the Chinese muslims decide the way forward. There must be some legal measures which they can take and let them decide instead of us causing this a new reason to fight a (so called) holy war and recruit more (so called) Jihadis

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  • Nero
    Dec 15, 2011 - 1:15PM

    Great news. I am loving it.

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  • fatima
    Dec 15, 2011 - 1:45PM

    if china doesn’t want its women being trapped behind walking prisons then it has a right to take any step to implement its decision.

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  • from India
    Dec 15, 2011 - 1:46PM

    had it been india ?

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  • Akthar
    Dec 15, 2011 - 2:11PM

    Very Sad Indeed. I think we should take up with China and demand implementation of Religious freedom. We are muslims and must stand for the Ummah. Ummah, doesn`t recognize borders/countries & its only the Holy Islam & the brotherhood that matters.

    China needs us more than we need them. They export lots of stuff to us, they need our mines, & we should warn them to protect our brethren in China. & am sure, our Army & ISI have taken notice.

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  • Ali
    Dec 15, 2011 - 3:11PM

    and demand implementation of Religious freedom

    I think you should first demand implementation of religious freedom in Pakistan!!!

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  • IndianMuslim
    Dec 15, 2011 - 3:41PM

    we as a nation must stop poking nose in business of other nations.

    had it been india ?

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  • IndianMuslim
    Dec 15, 2011 - 3:42PM

    we as a nation must stop poking nose in business of other nations., because they are all weather friends. What a double standard! Keep it up..

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  • Chacha
    Dec 15, 2011 - 3:59PM

    Only one comment above against this (wonderful comment viz China needs Pak more than Pak needs it !!!!) . All others are either supportive of the move or wondering why no blood is being spilt in Pakistan over this anti muslim move.
    Looks like there is now a slavish following for China – all sins forgiven for them, for the rest its holy war !

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  • Javed
    Dec 15, 2011 - 4:02PM

    @imran najam:
    “It’s their country, their rules. Loyalty to one’s country comes first, loyalty to anything else is secondary.”

    REALLY! I have never seen such generosity on this issue with others countries. I doubt if you would be so charitable with the French. After all France is their country. Utter duplicity.

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  • Javed
    Dec 15, 2011 - 4:08PM

    @Akthar:

    What a joke. You want China to implement religious freedom. What about Pakistan, they say “Charity begins at home”. Our Army is not stupid. They know what the Chinese would do if we interfere in any way even verbally. Like it or not, they are not as charitable as the West.

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  • Jp
    Dec 15, 2011 - 4:08PM

    Pakistan should learn from its all weather friend China how to cope with religious fundamentalists

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  • jimmy
    Dec 15, 2011 - 4:16PM

    @Akthar:
    lol china relies on pak ?! just google how much aid and support china has provided pak for decades …. no other country has or will support pak in tht way…ur country will dare not attack the dragon otherwise it will be yr last day on earth that day !! google china-india trade value , china-japan trade, china-usa trade etc.. they get 1000 times more profit from these countries thn they will ever recieve from u … compare paks trade value with these countries i mentioned..it will be nothing but peanuts ! its a fact,… no one in pak will dare voice against china.. because china is the only country tht has been pak’s true-weather friend…and chinas army is as good as USA ….so u have no chance in hell to upset them…

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  • patriot
    Dec 15, 2011 - 4:27PM

    China is not heping us for free, It has its own interests. and if it does some thing wrong we as muslims should criticize it. however, It should not be taken as “call for jihaad”.

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  • Sadia
    Dec 15, 2011 - 4:29PM

    @Akthar:
    we think the whole world ‘needs us more than we need them’. why are we then so isolaoted? btw. how about muslims respecting the rights of religious minorities in their countries?

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  • Sam
    Dec 15, 2011 - 4:47PM

    its an attack against basic human rights.Pakistan must speak out against this oppression.where is your muslim brotherhood…Pakistanis

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  • Hu Jintao
    Dec 15, 2011 - 4:52PM

    My God look how liberal american fanboys mocking friendship with China ignoring all the deeds she did with Pakistan. China IS the all-weather friend of Pakistan stand by it in tough and peace times. Where was your favorite USA when we needed the most?

    When we made them sole superpower in the 90′s. they gave us sanctionsRecommend

  • ProudPakistani
    Dec 15, 2011 - 5:13PM

    There is no concept of face veil in Islam…Women are supposed to hide their hair & other body parts…but hiding face,hands & feet are not compulsory…

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  • Mohsin Ali
    Dec 15, 2011 - 5:20PM

    @Sadia:
    While we have every right to demand justice and equal treatment for Muslims around the world, similar demands by non-muslims can/should not be met. Doing so is against the basic logic. Would you trade your superior cloth/dress for inferior one? Would you allow a principal of a school to teach wrong things to your kid? By the same logic, would you allow a non-muslim to preach what they want? But, any move against muslims and their culture, as in china, should be oposed vehemently.
    Btw these are not my thoughts by any means. I am just quoting Dr. Zakir Naik!!

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  • Babloo
    Dec 15, 2011 - 5:40PM

    The reason LeT, JuD would not come out on the street is because they operate under the control and instructions of < fill in the blanks >. Everyone knows it.

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  • Rehman
    Dec 15, 2011 - 6:03PM

    Where are all those laptop jihadis who can not waste any oppurtunity to protest against Western nations????

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  • g
    Dec 15, 2011 - 6:25PM

    hahaha

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  • Akthar
    Dec 15, 2011 - 6:28PM

    @Sadia: Have you heard of the term “Extreme Liberals”? Do you anything about the Holy Quran & Islamic Preachings? What i said was whats in the Holy Quran! Youll understand what i mean if you are true Islam or probably you can be an Indian posting in Islamic names.

    As 10 Pakistanis on any streets from Islamabad to Khi about this news and see how they would react… Am pretty sure 90% will say what i say. Recommend

  • Furqan
    Dec 15, 2011 - 7:17PM

    very sad news, and very sad to see co called muslims commenting, may ALLAH guide us all.

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  • Dr.Tanwir Ahmad
    Dec 15, 2011 - 7:21PM

    A Mohammmad Bin Qasim is needed to attack PRChina and save the modesty of moslem women.Any one dare?

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  • khalis
    Dec 15, 2011 - 7:30PM

    silence is best responce when your best friend offend you.

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Dec 15, 2011 - 7:30PM

    @Akthar:

    As 10 Pakistanis on any streets from
    Islamabad to Khi about this news and
    see how they would react… Am pretty
    sure 90% will say what i say

    Question is whether that makes it true just because 90% say so

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  • Dr.Tanwir Ahmad
    Dec 15, 2011 - 7:32PM

    @Akhtar
    The Ummah as defined in Meesaq i Madina is all people living in Madina including Jews and other non muslims.What is your definition of UMMAH? Is it different from the Holy Prophet?

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  • reader
    Dec 15, 2011 - 8:20PM

    @abbas:
    How about letting the Kashmiri’s decide too?

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  • Cautious
    Dec 15, 2011 - 9:06PM

    It would appear that your best friend doesn’t respect your religion – maybe they don’t realize your a Muslim Nation?

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  • Dec 15, 2011 - 9:43PM

    It is a fact that Chinese government has systemically destroyed the culture of ethnic turkic people of China. People who are overwhelmingly Muslims. Unfortunately, you don’t find any mullah worth his salt crying foul on such behavior. Whereas the same mullah will hang his throat out for Palestine and Indian Muslims. Same pathetic behavior is shown by our politicians. Not even Imran Khan has guts to call spade a spade.

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  • Asif Mahmood
    Dec 15, 2011 - 11:02PM

    China can’t do such thing. It’s RAW/CIA/Israel conspiracy.

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  • Dec 15, 2011 - 11:05PM

    That is very wrong to impose on humans, what the imposer (human) wants. Let the human wear whatever he wants as long as it does not impact human life effectively malicious and wrong.

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  • jagjit sidhoo
    Dec 15, 2011 - 11:13PM

    @Mohsin Ali: India gives Dr Naik the freedom to express these views yet it is enemy no1 while China in spite of what it is doing is the all weather friend. Double standards . Do u realize what u r getting into in depending on them ?

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  • Observer
    Dec 15, 2011 - 11:44PM

    @jimmy:

    lol china relies on pak ?!

    Akhtar is right. Pakistan has helped China tremendously by killing thousands of anti-China Jihadis and by not allowing these Uighur/ Uzbeck Islamists to set up training camps in Pakistan. Compare this to other JIhadis such as anti-Nato, anti-Afghan and anti-Indian Jihadis who all have received nurturing and support from the Pak establishment.

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  • Muyyu
    Dec 15, 2011 - 11:51PM

    @mohsin Ali

    “While we have every right to demand justice and equal treatment for Muslims around the world, similar demands by non-muslims can/should not be met. Doing so is against the basic logic. Would you trade your superior cloth/dress for inferior one?”…..

    Absolutely wrong argument as usual from Zakir Naik.

    Muslims think their religion is superior, so do christians (else they would not be christians), so do hindus and everyone else.

    So who decides who is superior or inferior? There is an old saying …as the religion, so the people. So by this yardstick which religion is superior?

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  • Balma
    Dec 15, 2011 - 11:52PM

    Pakistan should also band burqua, hijabs, and unkempt / tablighee style beards.

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  • Raj - USA
    Dec 15, 2011 - 11:57PM

    Most Chinese cannot grow a thick beard or facial hair. They are made so ethnically. This is Allah’s way of saying that they are Kaufers.

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  • Observer
    Dec 15, 2011 - 11:57PM

    @patriot:

    China is not heping us for free, It has its own interests. and if it does some thing wrong we as muslims should criticize it. however, It should not be taken as “call for jihaad”.

    Why don’t you want this taken as a call for Jihad against China? Why the preferential treatment for the Chinese? If it were other countries, I am sure you would have called for Jihad. Isn’t this hypocrisy? Do the scriptures make any exception for China with respect to Jihad?

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  • Patrik
    Dec 16, 2011 - 12:17AM

    Muslims in India have more rights but India has been painted as ‘anti muslim’ but china is a friend despite repression of Muslims in ughihur province and elsewhere. No wonder Pakistan has zero credibility everywhere.

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  • Javed
    Dec 16, 2011 - 12:27AM

    @ProudPakistani: Then why do you oppose others so vociferously. When it comes to China all of you are so willing to justify its deeds.

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  • Raj - USA
    Dec 16, 2011 - 2:01AM

    @Javed:
    What can Pakistan do? If they lift even the little finger against China, China will tear them u in pieces. So, After American Chachi, it is China Chacha.

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  • Raj - USA
    Dec 16, 2011 - 2:31AM

    Why other prominent Pakistan news papers did not publish this news item? Haven’t seen this news item appear in other Pakistan news papers. Only ET has published this news item.

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  • Raj
    Dec 16, 2011 - 3:54AM

    Pakistani double standards. Read the comments when Canada’s Immigration Minister proposed similar ban while taking the Canadian Citizenship Oath.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/305946/canada-bans-face-veils-for-citizenship-oaths/

    Pakistan’s own Foreign Minister does not wear veil. Is she a less Muslim?

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  • Cynical
    Dec 16, 2011 - 4:13AM

    @Raj – USA

    Good observation.Even I didn’t see any mention of this news in any other newspaper.

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  • Ali Wazir
    Dec 16, 2011 - 4:39AM

    So all the Brouhaha internationally about Tibetans nothing for the Uighurs. Got it, oppressed Muslims from Palestine, Chechniya, Philippines, Thailand to Kashmir, are clearly all “terrorist” no use expecting anyone coming to your rescue. You as always, are on your own.

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  • sajid
    Dec 16, 2011 - 5:29AM

    Pakistan can only go against uncle sam because they know uncle chang won’t tolerate any intrusions in their country.

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  • Punjabi
    Dec 16, 2011 - 7:02AM

    Veil is there to restrict communication. As far as I am concerned we shouldnt have it in Pakistan either. Turkey banished it long time ago.

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  • Aarvey
    Dec 16, 2011 - 9:08AM

    @Akthar:
    ” china needs us more than we( Pakistan) needs us”. This is the kind of harebrained assumptions that most pakistanis thrive on. Do you expect China to sit back and watch an entire city or province of theirs turn black with burqas or faces unrecognizable with excess of hair. The Chinese expect loyalty to country first just as any normal country would. Recommend

  • Dec 16, 2011 - 6:33PM

    very good news we should do the same in Pakistan,Veil is used to keep the woman down it has nothing to do with Islam,
    we want to keep woman under our control,
    Bravo china

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  • Asif Mahmood
    Dec 16, 2011 - 8:57PM

    China is not Amrica. Amrica gives us free money and still allow us to burn their flags. If we even try to say something bad about China, destruction of Pakistan is assured.

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  • Abdul-Razak Edhy
    Dec 17, 2011 - 12:58AM

    Do all Muslims agree on a common definition of ”’veil’ or ”beard”? Why identity issue for passports and visa reconciled with face pose on photo for every one by all the Muslim countries? Also why is the commandment to lower gaze when facing a person of opposite sex?

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  • Damodar
    Dec 17, 2011 - 2:18AM

    @Muyyu.
    The same question was asked to a holy man.He replied that the goal of human life is love of God.And that is only possible when you know what He looks like and what are His pastimes.The description of God is given in the Vedic Literature,’venum kwanantam aravinda dalaya taksham,baraha vatamsam asit ambudha sundarangam,kandarpakotikamaniya vishesha shobham,Govindam adi purusham tam aham bhajami’(Brahma Samhita),that is,
    I worship Govinda (Krsna),the primeval Lord who is adept on playing on His flute,whose eyes are like blooming lotus petals,whose head is bedecked with peacock feathers,whose figure of beauty is tinged with the hue of rain bearing clouds and whose unique loveliness charms millions of cupids.
    Regarding His pastimes an encyclopedic information is given in the Vedic literature,eg,Srimad Bhagvatam.
    A seeker of truth whould do well to rise above religious prejudices and attain the Supreme goal.

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  • MarkH
    Dec 17, 2011 - 3:30AM

    @Abdul-Razak Edhy:
    I’m certainly not a Muslim so I won’t say this is their reasoning. However, eye contact is considered an extreme form of intimacy in some cases. There are contradictions everywhere you look by societies that see it that way but, that rarely stops anyone, anywhere.

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