Chinese officials restrict number of Uyghurs observing RamadanApril 01, 2022
For years, officials in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have prohibited Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims from fully observing Ramadan including by banning civil servants, students and teachers from fasting.
Some neighborhood committees in Urumqi (in Chinese, Wulumuqi) and some village officials in Kashgar (Kashi) and Hotan (Hetian) prefectures have received notices that only 10-50 Muslims will be allowed to fast during Ramadan, which runs from April 1 to May 1, and that those who do so must register with authorities, according local administrators and police in Xinjiang.
“Ramadan measures are being taken,” said a village policeman in Kashgar’s Tokkuzak (Toukezhake) township. “The purpose is to allay the fears of [Uyghurs] who are afraid to fast, in addition to security, because there should not be any misconception about the [Chinese Communist] Party’s religious policy. The party never said to abolish religion, but to Sinicize it.”
A village administrator who oversees 10 families in Ghulja (Yining) county in Ili Kazakh (Yili Hasake) Autonomous Prefecture, said registration was already under way in his community and that the elderly and adults with no school-age children are allowed to fast.
“This system is designed to avoid religion to have negative effects on children’s minds,” he said. “There is a lot of propaganda about it right now. A cadre from the village is registering people who meet the criteria for fasting.”