Chinese court jails Muslim for 6 years for growing beard, wife gets 2 years for wearing veil

Published: March 30, 2015


BEIJING: A court in China’s mainly Muslim Xinjiang region has sentenced a man to six years in prison for “provoking trouble” and growing a beard, a practice discouraged by local authorities, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The court in the desert oasis city of Kashgar sentenced the 38-year-old Uighur to six years, while his wife was given a two-year sentence, according to the China Youth Daily.

The man “had started growing his beard in 2010” while his wife “wore a veil hiding her face and a burqa”, the paper said.

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The couple were found guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”, a vague accusation regularly used in the Chinese judicial system.

For more than a year the authorities in Xinjiang have been campaigning against men growing beards – a practice officials associate with extremist ideas.

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A campaign dubbed “Project Beauty” also encourages women to leave their heads bare and abandon wearing the veil, a relatively widespread practice among the Uighurs – the main Muslim ethnic group in Xinjiang.




The Kashgar couple had “received several warnings” before being charged, the newspaper reported, citing local officials.

“Since the beginning of the year, a certain number of people breaking the regulation on beards, veils and burqas have been prosecuted and sentenced,” officials in Kashgar were quoted as saying by the paper.

Kashgar authorities could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Rights groups believe Beijing’s repression of the Uighurs’ culture and religion has fanned tensions in Xinjiang, a resource-rich region that abuts central Asia.

Violence increased last year and at least 200 people were killed in a series of bombings and deadly clashes with security forces, blamed by Beijing on “separatists” and “religious extremists”.

In April last year authorities in Xinjiang’s Shaya county offered cash to informants to report on neighbours with excessive facial hair.

In August authorities in Karamay city banned people with large beards or Islamic clothing from travelling on public buses.

Shocked at the jail sentence rights group said in a statement that such a case would not happen in any other country.

“It is unacceptable and absurd. It exposes China’s hostile attitude and crisis of governance,” said spokesperson for the exile World Uyghur Congress.

He added that “If a Chinese person grows a beard, it is a personal fashion he is allowed to choose freely. If a Uighur grows a beard, he is a religious extremist.”

Shocked at the decision of the court, many took to Twitter to express their views on the jail sentence:

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (31)

  • Ashraf
    Mar 30, 2015 - 12:52PM

    Good job, China. Please impose the same rules on your all-weather friend too !!Recommend

  • Mar 30, 2015 - 1:19PM

    The funny thing is had this happened in India our leaders would be making rhetorical remarks, where are they now? Moral of the story: Just focus on getting your house in order!Recommend

  • Stranger
    Mar 30, 2015 - 1:25PM

    Your house your wish my house my wish. wheres the confusion or Q of oppression ? Recommend

  • Human
    Mar 30, 2015 - 2:02PM

    Good Job. Our character should be good enough to represent our religion rather than keeping physical appearance. This is the best way to keep away sectarian conflicts from ones society.Recommend

  • Anand Rathore
    Mar 30, 2015 - 3:00PM

    Yes true and mind your business whenever whatsoever happened in India, bcoz it’s our house our business. Don’t outcry okay. Good boy Recommend

  • islooboy
    Mar 30, 2015 - 3:06PM

    fake indian spottedRecommend

  • TooTrue
    Mar 30, 2015 - 3:10PM

    It must have taken the poor Chinese man years to grow that beard. :) Pakistan should follow suit.Recommend

  • islooboy
    Mar 30, 2015 - 3:13PM

    There are 6000 uighyurs refugees in PakistanRecommend

  • Hella
    Mar 30, 2015 - 3:36PM

    Pakistanis can’t do much except support the all weather friend, who did not come to Pakistan’s aid when it was being dismembered. Much easier to condemn France for banning the veil.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Mar 30, 2015 - 4:30PM

    the more they suppress muslims the more certain I get that Islam is the right religion.Recommend

  • Greenmile
    Mar 30, 2015 - 4:44PM

    Excuse me !!! While living in China, I have seen countless muslims men keeping beards and women wearing veil. Either this news story is incomplete or this is outright propaganda to provoke Pakistanis against China.Recommend

  • Mar 30, 2015 - 5:19PM

    My dear friend I’m a green blooded Pakistani. What I have said is true to the hilt.Recommend

  • Mar 30, 2015 - 5:56PM

    Hold on a second – before we jump on the anti-China bandwagon – I know many Chinese Muslims who grow beards and haven’t had issues with Chinese authorities. Do you think it could have been that they really were picking fights/quarrels? Just asking… Recommend

  • Stranger
    Mar 30, 2015 - 6:47PM

    @Anand Rathore:
    Hey when did I comment against India ? Recommend

  • Mar 30, 2015 - 6:54PM

    Even Mr. Miyagi had a beard!Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Mar 30, 2015 - 7:20PM

    Modi has a beard !!!!!!! Manmohan Singh has a beard !!!!!! On the contrary, Nawaz Sharif, Zardari, Altaf Hussein and Imran Khan ….. not any of them have a beard !!!!!

    I tend to agree with you that it is not beard that China was objecting. This man started to grow beard just a few years ago ….. could be fashion …. But I suspect that he was himself portraying it as a sign of defiance. Coupled with it is that his wife also started to wear a veil. Veil is a strict “No” in China today. A lot has changed in China in the last 2-3 years. In the court he may have said that it is his islamic right to have a beard or spoken about islam, China keeps an eye on its muslim population in that area. Recommend

  • Kay
    Mar 30, 2015 - 7:44PM

    What commenters here don’t seem to realize when they say things like “I know Chinese men with beards, this must be propaganda, this is a good thing, etc.”, is that this kind of legislation is aimed specifically at the ethnic Uighur minority.

    Hui Muslims in China do not have these restrictions, nor do other Sino-Tibetan ethnic groups in China. The point of the legislation is to crack down on the Uighurs, because os their different ethnic background, different culture, and struggle for indepedence. The PRC has never been kind to ethnic minorities, particularly those that have seperatist movements. This isn’t about religion, it’s about making life more difficult for the Uighurs. Recommend

  • Jaac66
    Mar 30, 2015 - 10:30PM

    This is ridiculous misleading news. No one could be jailed for wear a beard in China. Use your brains.Recommend

  • Woz Ahmed
    Mar 31, 2015 - 12:32AM

    What’s the issue ?

    China has a right to treat its citizens as it wishes.

    We discriminate against Ahmadis and other, that is our prerogative, how we can complain about selective laws on others is beyond me.

    China will always be our freind, let it govern as it sees fit.Recommend

  • Ml
    Mar 31, 2015 - 12:42AM

    @Accept it boy, your honey tastes bitter.Recommend

  • Taha
    Mar 31, 2015 - 3:21AM


    I swear the people in this comment section are retarded.

    This is a pakistani website, yes?

    Whatever happened to being allowed to practice your own religion? Not allowing Muslims to grow beards, wear hijabs etc, is the same as closing down churches, disallowing public worship of other religions which I’m sure all these die-hard expat pakistanis condemn as soon as something like that happens inside pakistanRecommend

  • Mar 31, 2015 - 4:21AM

    @Ahmed: Sorry Ahmed. Jesus is the only True Religion. The others are just Cults.Recommend

  • Leela4fun
    Mar 31, 2015 - 5:10AM

    Hail the longer than a mullah’s beard, skimpier than a veil, all weather friend! I guess there will be outrage expressed by burning Chinese restaurants and massage parlors. While at it, please also reject the JF-17s.Recommend

  • Milind
    Mar 31, 2015 - 8:43AM

    @Mohammed Abbasi / Greenmile – Good to see you being apologists for China… Now please extend the same benefit of doubt, whenever a similar outrage occurs with Muslims in India or the West…Recommend

  • ajeet
    Mar 31, 2015 - 8:45AM

    Alliance between mullah and Mao will never work.Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Mar 31, 2015 - 11:17AM

    @Bruce Eisermann:
    Jesus is the only True Religion. The others are just Cults

    Define “True”Recommend

  • ali
    Mar 31, 2015 - 10:55PM

    I have lives china for two years and I have many Chinese Muslims having beard and wearing Weil… there must be some other issue…Recommend

  • hassan
    Mar 31, 2015 - 11:44PM

    Ask me, I lived in china for four years. And I have many Uyghur friends. Firstly,those who are saying that it could be another issue and not just the beard, or saying things like “I have seen Chinese Muslims with beards”. These rules are only applicable for the Muslim majority Xinjiang province. Doesn’t apply for the rest of china. it is not a target against religion, it is to make life difficult for uyghurs and mentally torture them and try to make them abandon Islam. I have known Uyghurs, they are such cool people, very well-behaved, hardworking, good looking as well. They are closer to us Pakistanis culturally, linguistically, ethnically, not at all anywhere close to Chinese culture. Girl students’ biggest worry in universities are not the studies, but in fact, whether authorities will let them cover their heads or not. There was one brother who was expelled from high school, just because he was found praying inside his room. Moreover, when this community expresses wish to travel outside their country, they are not even issued passports!! May Allah give them ease.Recommend

  • Indian Observer
    Apr 1, 2015 - 6:11PM

    China is a communist country and therefore not secular and religion has no place. Contrast it to Pakistan , which is not secular but belongs only to one religion. They are ‘all-weather friends’ . We all know that this groupism is only to contain India and all part of strategic depth. However India is already off its mark and soon China will not antagonize India needlessly by pandering to pakistan in the near future.Recommend

  • jk
    Apr 3, 2015 - 6:40AM

    This law came only in nov 2014 fools. Recommend

  • Cosmo
    May 6, 2015 - 7:08AM

    @Woz Ahmed:
    Wow, people who thinks like yoh shouldnt even exist on earth!!Recommend

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