This year, China has forbidden civil servants, teachers and students to take part in Ramadan fasting in East Turkestan (Xinjiang) again. Every year, university students are openly forbidden to fast during the month of Ramadan or to show any pious behaviour (also expressed on Human Rights Watch report on Xinjiang, Oct. 2001).
According to Voice of America, some local governments and institutes have posted notices in China’s restive Xinjiang province banning students and civil servants from taking part in traditional fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Experts on the region say although the orders are not new, they run the risk of reinforcing recent tensions.
Oxford University’s Reza Hasmath, who has published several books on China’s ethnic minorities, said the ban does not help the current situation.
“There is heightened tensions in Xinjiang among the Uighurs. Particularly given the ethnic violence that has been occurring over the last year. So this only reinforces more antagonism if anything,” said Hasmath.
Alim Seytoff, president of the Uyghur-American Association and born in Xinjiang, also thinks the ban will cause Uighurs to become more dissatisfied. And, he said, it violates Beijing’s statements that it grants ethnic and religious minorities preferential treatment.
“In fact, it means China does not have any preferential policy. It actually opposes Uighurs’ religious belief, it is an anti-religion policy. So many Uighurs, including me, dislike this policy very much,” said Seytoff.
Resource: VOA News, 02.07.2014