Residents in Urumqi have been banned from wearing the burqa in an effort to curb increasing terrorism.
According to The Telegraph, women in the city of 3.1 million people in the far western region of Xinjiang, will no longer be allowed to wear the garment, state media announced this week.
“Burqas are not traditional dress for Uighur women, and wearing them in public places is banned in countries such as Belgium and France,” Xinhua, China’s official news agency wrote regarding the ban.
Xinjiang is home to the Uighurs, a largely Muslim group and per the 2010 census, around 13.4 million of its nearly 22 million residents are Muslims.
Earlier, Xinjiang banned the wearing of face veils in public, a move experts worried could spark more unrest in the troubled region.
The restriction came as China stepped up curbs on religious clothing amid increasing nervousness about extremism. Beijing blames separatists for several deadly bomb and knife attacks that have killed hundreds of people over the past two years or so.
Many Xinjiang experts said the outlawing of veils and the heavy-handed enforcement of the rules would further stigmatise the region’s minority Uighurs.
Uighurs have traditionally followed a moderate form of religion, but many have begun adopting practices such as full-face veils for women, as China has intensified a security crackdown in recent years.