Beijing [China]: Chinese authorities in Xinjiang are restricting Uyghurs to observe the Islamic holy month of Ramzan, drawing heavy criticism from rights groups that see the government directive as the latest effort to diminish Uyghur culture in the region, local media reported.
For years, officials in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have prohibited Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims from fully observing Ramzan including by banning civil servants, students and teachers from fasting, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.
Some neighbourhood 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 Ramzan, which runs from April 1 to May 1, and that those who do so must register with authorities, RFA cited local administrators and police in Xinjiang.
In past years, authorities have warned Uyghur residents that they could be punished for fasting, including by being sent to one of the XUAR’s vast network of internment camps, where authorities are believed to have held up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities since April 2017, according to RFA.
“It is pathetic and tragic to see China’s notice that only certain people can fast,” DFA quoted Turghunjan Alawudun, director of the Committee for Religious Affairs at the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) in Germany.
Alawudun added, “The Muslim world would laugh at China’s actions and be astonished by the setting of a quota for those who can fast.”
The Campaign for Uyghurs, also based in Washington, also noted that Uyghurs in Xinjiang are once again being “forbidden to worship and celebrate religious holidays”.
WUC President Dolkun Isa said China has turned Ramzan into “a month of hellish suffering of genocide for the Uyghur people” and called on Muslim leaders worldwide to condemn the rights abuses occurring in Xinjiang, RFA reported.
“It’s your religious and moral duty to call on China to stop this ongoing genocide,” he said. “History will not treat you kindly if you continue to allow this genocide to continue under your watch.”
The U.S. and parliaments in some Western countries have declared China’s actions against the Uyghurs and other Turkic people a genocide and crimes against humanity, though China has denied accusations of abuse, RFA reported. (ANI)