- New rules announced on March 29 ban beards and veils in the Chinese province
- The move is part of new ‘Regulations on Extremisation of Xinjiang province’
- Xinjiang province in northern China is home to 10 million Chinese Muslims
- This month an ISIS video featuring Chinese children vowed to ‘shed blood’
China has announced that it is implementing new measures including a ban on ‘abnormal’ beards in its heavily Muslim region of Xinjiang.
Veils have also been banned in public places along with refusing to watch or listen to state media, as part of the new ‘Regulations on Extremisation of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.’
A number of bans on ‘extremist behaviour’ have been previously introduced in the province home to 10 million Muslims.
Women in Urumqi, capital of China’s Xinjiang province wearing their burqas
China claims that the legal, cultural and religious rights of Muslims in Xinjiang are fully protected.
However many Muslim Uighur people resent increasing restrictions on their culture and religion and complain they are denied economic opportunities amid an influx of Han Chinese into the province.
In recent years, hundreds of people have died in unrest blamed by the Chinese government on Islamist militants.
The new rules posted to news.ts.cn yesterday state: ‘Parents should use good moral conduct to influence their children, educate them to revere science, persue culture, uphold ethnic unity and refuse and oppose extremism’.
Workers in public spaces such as stations and airports will be asked to ‘dissuade’ those who fully cover their bodies including veiling their faces from entering. They will also be required to report them to the police.
The new rules is set to come into effect on April 1.
- Muslims in China make up 1.8 percent of the country’s population.
- Xinjiang province is home to 10.37 million Uighur.
- The province has some 24,200 Muslim mosques.
Source: Statistic Bureau of Xinjiang
It comes following the release of a video earlier this month from ISIS depicting children from Xinjiang training and listening to preachers. The group have vowed to return home and ‘shed rivers of blood’.
Over the past year, Chinese President Xi Jinping has directed the Communist party to ‘sinicise’ the country’s ethnic and religious minorities, while regional leaders in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region have ramped up surveillance measures, police patrols and demonstrations amid an uptick in violence blamed on Islamic separatists.
There are also other provinces close to Xinjiang that are also home to Muslims such as the Hui Muslims in Ningxia. There has been concern that the government will also crack down on activities there.
In 2014, the northwestern city of Karamay in Xinjiang banned people with beards and those wearing veils from boarding buses. Those wearing clothing depicting the crescent moon and star were also banned.
While in February this year, a region in Xinjiang province ordered that all cars be fitted with a GPS tracking device.
Last October China banned parents and guardians from encouraging their children into religious activities.