China restricts Ramazan fasting in restive Xinjiang

Published: August 1, 2012
Leaders are urged to bring "gifts" of food to local village leaders to ensure that they were eating during Ramazan. PHOTO: AFP

Leaders are urged to bring "gifts" of food to local village leaders to ensure that they were eating during Ramazan. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING: Authorities in China’s restive northwestern region of Xinjiang have banned Muslim officials and students from fasting during Ramazan, prompting an exiled rights group to warn of new violence.

Guidance posted on numerous government websites called on Communist Party leaders to restrict Muslim religious activities during the holy month, including fasting and visiting mosques.

Xinjiang is home to around nine million Uighurs, a Turkic speaking, largely Muslim ethnic minority, many of whom accuse China’s leaders of religious and political persecution.

The region has been rocked by repeated outbreaks of ethnic violence, but China denies claims of repression and relies on tens of thousands of Uighur officials to help it govern Xinjiang.

A statement from Zonglang township in Xinjiang’s Kashgar district said that “the county committee has issued comprehensive policies on maintaining social stability during the Ramazan period.

“It is forbidden for Communist Party cadres, civil officials (including those who have retired) and students to participate in Ramazan religious activities.”

The statement, posted on the Xinjiang government website, urged party leaders to bring “gifts” of food to local village leaders to ensure that they were eating during Ramazan.

Similar orders on curbing Ramazan activities were posted on other local government websites, with the educational bureau of Wensu county urging schools to ensure that students do not enter mosques during Ramazan.

The holy month began in Xinjiang on July 20. The orders to curb religious activities were sent out across the region at different times, some before the start of Ramazan and some afterwards.

An exiled rights group, the World Uyghur Congress, warned the policy would force “the Uighur people to resist (Chinese rule) even further.”

“By banning fasting during Ramazan, China is using administrative methods to force the Uighur people to eat in an effort to break the fasting,” said group spokesman Dilshat Rexit in a statement.

Xinjiang saw its worst ethnic violence in recent times in July, 2009, when Uighurs attacked members of the nation’s dominant Han ethnic group in the city of Urumqi, sparking clashes in which 200 people from both sides died, according to the government.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • khalsa
    Aug 1, 2012 - 10:28PM

    i want to see the JI reaction to it and also of the JuD and hafeez saeed


  • Rajendra Kalkhande
    Aug 1, 2012 - 10:41PM

    Almost every Pakistani leader has protested against Myanmar against violence on Muslims. How about lodging the protests against all whether friend China for this religious repression? I strongly deplore and condemn this Chinese action.


  • anand singh
    Aug 1, 2012 - 11:04PM

    Since its is an ‘All weather friend’ I suppose no calls for Jihad or suppression of Muslims y JUD / Hafiz Sayeed ?


  • Naveen Singla
    Aug 1, 2012 - 11:25PM

    Will we see burning Chinese flags ?


  • Qasim Raza
    Aug 2, 2012 - 1:11AM

    Pakistani rightist leaders and like minded mass will surely manifest deep resentment at France where four Muslim summer camp workers were sacked over fasting in Ramazan on account of health and security issues in a town in suburbs of Paris. China, of course is a different case… we will hardly see any Islamic faction being least bothered about persecution and discriminatory treatment being meted to Muslims of Xinjiang.


    Aug 2, 2012 - 4:31AM

    What sick-minded Islam-phobic haters theses people are! I mean, even Taliban didn’t ban religious minorities from practicing their beliefs during the time when they ruled Afghanistan. There were temples and the Sikhs wore those yellow turbans. We have to believe that China is going to be the next super power at war with Muslims.


  • Bilal
    Aug 2, 2012 - 5:18AM

    When a Muslim country imposes something, it is called as religious extremist and narrow minded. However, this will be seen as a right of the government by many intellect


  • Raj - USA
    Aug 2, 2012 - 5:51AM

    This is China’s way of warning Pakistan to keep away from Myanmar issue. Now, all protestors, politicians and media shall keep quiet in Pakistan.


  • wej
    Aug 2, 2012 - 6:07AM

    How come only Indians are commenting on this story
    of discrimination for being a muslim and not allowing
    to practice their religion. NO PROTEST.


  • Rehan
    Aug 2, 2012 - 9:25AM

    The people who doesnt know about Jihad are commenting on it, who even doesnt know about their own books, what an irony. I am also surprised only indians are commenting on this issue and trying to instigate. Non-muslims can do anything in the name of freedom of speech and human rights and still considered “enlightened people” while a most peaceful act of a muslim is termed as extremist and banned……..what a discrimination….I PROTEST.


  • Najam
    Aug 2, 2012 - 5:22PM

    Where is jehadi birgade. Jehad i Azam should be declared against China


  • Naveed Javed
    Aug 2, 2012 - 5:42PM

    China? All-Weather Friend to Pakistan But not to Islam? Correct me if I am wrong!Recommend

  • Zain
    Aug 2, 2012 - 6:45PM

    Indians are looking excited on this news. How many muslims have been killed in Asam by Hindus and Christains during past week. Can anybody give me a number. come on! Anyboday. Raj, Naveen, Rajendra.


  • jai
    Aug 2, 2012 - 7:06PM

    @Zain: why don’t muslims do family planning to fix their own countries? Why should everyother country take muslim refugees?


  • Zain
    Aug 2, 2012 - 7:52PM

    @jai: Nobody kills refugees Jai..irrespective of their religion..this is against the fundamental norms of International Human Rights Law… what happens… if Hindus who are working and living..most of them permanently settled in Muslims majority countries are being assassinated on this excuse, which you are giving. My point is Jay..If Indians are doing mischief by posing such sarcastic questions to Pakistanis then they must also condemn what is going on inside India. Thanks


  • The Truth
    Aug 2, 2012 - 7:54PM

    @jaj… Being refugee and being resident of a place are two separate things.. Besides that its very absurd act by China to restrict Muslims from Ramazan… It is total discrimination of religious rights, but I can’t see any comments from Liberals in ET, who are always commenting on small acts done by Muslims countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan etc.Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Aug 2, 2012 - 8:44PM

    @Zain & Rehan: When somebody says something correct..try to accept not start blaming them..

    Also, since you’ve poured in your views about Assam Mr. you know why the violence started..what is the reason behind it..if asked, you will fill reams of paper regarding Israels land grabbing from Palestinians but when the same is done by the Muslims of Bangladeshi origin in will act as if you are not knowing anything….right Mr Zain !!!!

    Again as far as media reports are to be believed in the case of Burma (which i feel you too follow to form your stance regarding a particular topic) then you must be knowing that it was three Rohingya’s (a muslim community) which molested/raped a buddhist women/nun hence the repercussion by the monks..

    Mr Rehan..can you please enlighten me regarding the possibility of any non-muslim performing their religious duties peacefully in Saudi-Arabia ??


  • real truth
    Aug 2, 2012 - 8:51PM

    @AFGHAN please dont make facts.taliban had bombed and broked the buddha stature in afghan , one of the oldest and highest and important bhuddhist monument, the religion present there much before islam .
    @Zain the no. is surely very small to the no. these invaders have killedRecommend

  • Raj - USA
    Aug 2, 2012 - 8:53PM

    My comment was that it was China’s warning to Pakistan to keep away from Myanmar. You haven’t understood the point. The fact today is that no country considers Pakistan an Islamic country or a country representing Muslims. Pakistan also knows that it is not an Islamic country and that is the reason it tags along the word “Islamic” to its name. Saudis or Gulf countries, Indonesia or Malaysia do not do this. Even Islamic countries do not consider Pakistan as an Islamic country or support Pakistan. Saudis hand over terrorist holding Pakistan Passport to India, Afghanistan shuns Pakistan and sends its security forces to India for training and also has strategic agreement with India, Iran shuns Pakistan Mangos and wheat and prefers to trade with India, Kuwait refuses family visas for Pakistanis working there, …………………………
    So, when Pakistan talks of Muslims in India or other countries, it makes itself a big fool in front of the world. Pakistan claims that it has lost over 40,000 lives in the recent years due to terror activities. Has any country, including Islamic countries expressed any regret for the loss of so many lives in Pakistan? No. If you can find out why it is so, you will get your answer. Pakistan calling itself “Islamic” will not make it Islamic to others.


  • Raj - USA
    Aug 2, 2012 - 8:56PM

    @The Truth:
    I agree with you on this that it is absurd on China to restrict Ramzan Fasting. Most foolish act I have ever heard. Are the Chinese going to force feed those who are fasting ?


  • jai
    Aug 2, 2012 - 9:50PM

    Forced fasting on minorities in Pakistan is just as bad as forced feeding of minorities in China.


  • Raj
    Aug 3, 2012 - 12:57AM

    Pakistan does not seem to have Chinese Flags otherwise some one must be burning it.


  • Zain
    Aug 3, 2012 - 2:03AM

    @Raj: My question still stands Raj..if an Indian asks Pakistanis to condemn Chinese discrimination against muslims. Shouldn’t he be first condemning whats going on with Muslims in Assam. The culprits of Gujrat massacre where scores of muslims were killed are still being prosecuted and punished by Indian courts..were they refugees as well, dont you realize Raj Indian history is a history of communalism and religious friction. India broke on communal basis 65 years ago..and by the way raj I am pretry sure all of India doesnot share your point of view on China especially the Maoists who are in defecto control of 34 districts there. Thanks


  • khalsa
    Aug 3, 2012 - 6:50PM

    we are not asking pakistanis to condemn china. we are simply asking that pakistan stands for every muslim on earth living in any nation be it burma or france or usa or chechenya in russia or any other nation you may think of but this time when symbol of islam is being taken away from the muslims of china then why isnt any of the islamist faction protesting. leave aside JI or other such groups why even pakistanis are refraining from commenting.
    every pakistani say they are muslim first then why narrow national interests are coming in front.

    we are directly questioning on the hypocritical nature of pakistanis


  • Zain
    Aug 4, 2012 - 6:43AM

    @Khalsa: Take a look khalsa. Jalandhar(India) Police has stopped muslims from offering pryers in Ramadan. Any further comments. And what you expect Pakistanis to do now..


  • j. von hettlingen
    Aug 4, 2012 - 3:21PM

    It’s wrong to oppress religious and ethnic minorities. There will never be peace and harmony in the country.


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