Muslim Uyghurs in China Fined, Sent to 'Study Classes' For Observing RamadanJune 14, 2017
Since Muslims in China began observing dawn-to-dusk fasting and other restrictions on May 27, the government has been imposing fines and other sanctions on any state employees who refuse to eat in the middle of the day, according to the World Uyghur Congress, which represents the mostly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group in exile.
“Since the beginning of Ramadan, at least 100 people have been punished for breaking the Chinese government’s policies on Ramadan in Kashgar and Hotan [in Chinese, Hetian],” the group’s spokesman Dilxat Raxit told RFA.
“Some of them were fined, while others were sent to compulsory reeducation classes aimed at opposing religious extremism,” he said. “They are now being forcibly brainwashed, while others were fined 500 yuan.”
Anyone in an official job is put under intense pressure to break their fast, to show loyalty to the government, he said.
“The authorities will send people to take [Uyghur Muslims] out to lunch, for example,” Raxit said. “In the countryside, the officials go into the fields and eat and work alongside the people there … it’s basically a political campaign [against religious practice].”
“They go into the fields with food and drink, and they try everything [to get people to eat or drink],” he said. “They have set up a special stability maintenance team which consists of police, citizen security agents and village-level officials, as well as stability maintenance specialists sent from [regional capital] Urumqi.”
Similar restrictions are being enforced in Urumqi, according to resident of the city surnamed Jiao.
“The same stability maintenance work is going on, whether it be in the city or the countryside,” Jiao said. “But there are differences between neighborhoods, and some neighborhoods have increased security, with ID checks on anyone going in or out.”