China has again banned Muslim civil servants, students and teachers in the Xinjiang province from fasting during Ramzan this year and ordered restaurants to stay open.
China has banned Uyghur Muslims from fasting during Ramazan as it fears radicalization
China, a Communist country that deems itself as atheist, has again this year banned Muslim civil servants, students and teachers in the Xinjiang province from fasting during Ramzan and ordered restaurants to stay open. The Xinjiang province has a majority population of Muslims and is home to more than 10 million strong mostly Uyghurs.
China has had a troublesome relationship with its Muslim populace especially the Uyghur’s who have indulged in acts of terrorism in the past. Wary of the Muslims of the province being radicalized, the Chinese government restrains them from observing any religious practices in public. Muslims here unlike elsewhere in the world are not allowed to perform Namaz in public or use public property for their religious rituals. China has ordered restaurants to stay open, especially in Xinjiang. This region has reported regular conflicts between state security forces and Uyghurs. Beijing has blamed deadly attacks there and elsewhere in China on militants seeking independence for the resource-rich region. The state Food and Drug Administration in Xinjiang’s Jinghe county has put up a notice on its website that reads as “Foodservice workplaces will operate normal hours during Ramadan”. The officials in this region were told that “During Ramadan do not engage in fasting, vigils or other religious activities”.
Muslims the worldover are required to fast from dawn to dusk during the holy month of Ramzan, which began on Thursday. But the ruling Communist party of China is wary of its Muslim population and has banned the practice of fasting in Xinjiang. Ironically China is considered as a all-weather friend by Pakistan and even the UNSC declared Global Terrorist Masood Azhar had termed it the big brother. Pakistan has remained silent over the issue lest it could antagonize the only power that supports it in terms of defence and finance.
Xinjiang province has a majority population of Muslims and is home to more than 10 million strong mostly Uyghurs
The crackdown on Muslim practices and restrictions began after the July 2009 Urumqi riots where the Uyghur Muslims attacked Han Chinese in the Xinjiang province. The riots left nearly 200 dead and thousands injured or maimed. What followed the riots was the brutal crackdown on the Uyghurs by the Chinese army and government. After the riots, over 1,000 Uyghurs were arrested and detained. Uyghur-run mosques were temporarily closed and armed police presence remained in place for more than a year. More than 400 individuals faced criminal charges for their actions during the riots. While Nine were executed in November 2009, by February 2010 at least 26 had received death sentences.
Ever since there has been uncomfortable relationship of the Muslims with the Chinese government. Though there have been attacks on Chinese police and local Hans, riots on this scale have not repeated after the crackdown. The Chinese government blames the 2009 riots and uprising on the radicalization of the Uyghurs. Hence to stem the Islamic fanaticism, Chinese government started to impose restrictions on the Muslim schools, practices and even lifestyle.
It can be recalled that in June 2018, some Muslim groups in India had protested against the Chinese crackdown on Uyghur Muslims and restrictions during Ramzan by burning the effigies of Chinese President and the country’s flag. Such protests were held in Lucknow, Delhi, Kolkata and other places where the protesters claimed that the restrictions imposed on the Uyghur Muslims was an ‘injustice’ to all the Muslims across the world. Though few organizations like the Amnesty International protested against the Chinese government’s actions, none of it was taken seriously by China. China termed the restrictions as necessary to curtail radicalization and keep a tab on militants and said its actions are not religious discrimination. The UN also made a feeble request to China to go easy on its Muslims population, a request which China did not pay heed to.