Tuesday, May 26, 2015Tuesday, May 26, 2015

China restricts Ramadan fasting in Xinjiang

Published on Jul 2, 2014 1:49 PM
Ethnic Uighur women at an open market in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous region, on May 25, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

BEIJING (AFP) - China has banned civil servants, students and teachers in its mainly Muslim Xinjiang region from taking part in Ramadan fasting, government websites said, prompting condemnation from an exile group on Wednesday.

China's ruling Communist party is officially atheist, and for years has restricted fasting in Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority.

Xinjiang sees regular and often deadly clashes between Uighurs and state security forces, and Beijing has blamed recent deadly attacks elsewhere in China on militants seeking independence for the resource-rich region.

Rights groups blame tensions on religious and cultural restrictions placed on Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the vast area, which abuts Central Asia.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!