China punishes official for not daring to smoke near MuslimsApril 11, 2017
Authorities in China’s restive Xinjiang region have punished a local official for declining to smoke in front of Muslim elders, seeing that as a sign he was insufficiently committed to the region’s fight against religious extremism, according to a government report and state media Tuesday.
Jelil Matniyaz, Communist Party head of a village in Hotan Prefecture, was demoted for “not daring” to smoke in front of religious figures, said the report, issued Saturday and reproduced by official newspapers and websites. Matniyaz, identified as a member of Xinjiang’s indigenous Uighur ethnic minority, was cited by the report as not having a “resolute political stance.”
The state-run Global Times newspaper on Tuesday quoted other local officials as saying that government leaders should push back against rather than comply with religious prohibitions against smoking to demonstrate their “commitment to secularization.”