Sunday, 5 August 2012

More Repression in China

Muslims around the world are marking Ramadan, a holy month of fasting and visiting mosques.

However, those living in Xinjiang have been told by the authorities they are not allowed to do this.

A statement from Zonglang in Kashgar district, said "the county committee has issued comprehensive policies on maintaining social stability during the Ramadan period. It is forbidden for Communist Party cadres, civil officials [including those who have retired] and students to participate in Ramadan religious activities."

The statement urged party leaders to bring "gifts" of food to village leaders to ensure that they were eating during Ramadan.

There were also similar notices posted on other local government websites, including the Wensu county urging schools to ensure that students do not enter mosques.

This is the most outrageous sign of the government trying to prevent its people from practicing their own religion which is guaranteed in the constitution -- as long as it's sanctioned by the government.

Xinjiang is home to about 9 million Uighurs, most of whom are Muslims. There has been many incidents of unrest, in particular violent riots that broke out in July 2009.

The tensions built up over the years are mainly due to the authorities viewing Uighurs with suspicion and trying to control them through repression rather than through dialogue and conciliation.

Meanwhile the Uighurs just want to continue their way of life and keep their language and culture, but Beijing is insistent on integrating this ethnic minority by forcing them to learn, speak and read Chinese in order to find employment and having more Han Chinese living in the northwestern part of China.

And now this latest development of not allowing them to observe Ramadan is yet another form of repression.

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and through prayer strive to be more pious and charitable.

Isn't it ironic that most of these Uighurs are trying to practice their religion to be good people in society and yet their leaders are trying to force them not to?

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