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  • » 12/12/2014, 00.00


    Xinjiang want to ban burqa: Could spark unrest

    The burqa, a garment worn by Muslim woman to cover themselves from head-to-toe, is considered a symbol of religious extremism by the local authorities. Authorities already said they would ban the practice of religion in government workplaces, public schools and state-owned enterprises from next year.

    Urumqi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - A proposed burqa ban in the capital city of Xinjiang province could spark further unrest in the troubled region, experts warn.

    The Urumqi People's Congress Standing Committee voted yesterday in favour of banning people from wearing the garment in public, the local news website Tianshan.net reported.

    The proposal must now be reviewed by the regional People's Congress Standing Committee before it is implemented, though the report - later deleted from the site - did not specify when this would happen.

    The burqa, a garment worn by Muslim woman to cover themselves from head-to-toe, is considered a symbol of religious extremism by the local authorities.

    "Burqas are not a traditional Muslim garment in Xinjiang," said Jiang Zhaoyong, a Beijing-based expert on ethnic affairs. "The ban has been issued following public security concerns. Some people are wearing it not because of their religion, but to act out their resentments against society."

    Beijing blames religious extremists for a series of attacks that have killed hundreds of people in Xinjiang over the past few years.

    Xinjiang launched a "beautifying project" in 2011 to discourage women from covering their faces and wearing the burqa. Several campaigns against producing, selling or wearing the garments have been mounted by county and district-level governments in the province.

    Last month, Xinjiang said it would ban the practice of religion in government workplaces, public schools and state-owned enterprises from next year.

    The province is one of the most turbulent in all of China. Its Uighur Muslim minority, who number about nine million, have long sought independence from China.

    The central government, for its part, has brought in millions of settlers to make Han Chinese the dominant ethnic group.

    At the same time, it has severely curtailed Muslim religious worship as well as the teaching of the local language and culture.

    Since 2009 Chinese police and the military have held the region under a special regime, which Beijing imposed following clashes that left nearly 200 people dead. As a result of various episodes of violence, hundreds of long prison sentences were imposed and dozens of death penalties were carried out.

    Chinese authorities blame Muslim extremists for the wave of violence. Uighur exiles claim instead that Beijing is "exaggerating" the threat of Islamic terrorism to justify repression against indigenous Uighurs.




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    See also

    12/07/2013 CHINA
    Beijing "celebrates" Ramadan, communist officials invite Uygur Muslims to lunch
    The Government of the Western Province of Xinjiang has placed mosques under monitoring and prohibited groups of study and prayer. After the invitation to lunch, charges of "premeditated offenses" when they do not eat. Activists denounce: "these policies are new fuel to the fire".

    10/07/2009 CHINA
    Mosques closed in Urumqi while China fights "terrorism"
    The places of worship and the main roads of the city are patrolled by tens of thousands of soldiers. The Politburo has announced a hard line against "extremists, separatists, terrorists."

    27/02/2017 17:58:00 CHINA
    Beijing’s new scorched earth policy towards Uighurs

    China’s crackdown intensifies through more police surveillance. Chen wants fewer mosques and tighter controls over the young. For him, the ethnic conflict can be settled through greater development in agriculture and textile manufacturing. The authorities intensify their efforts against terrorism, but attacks continue unabated. (Courtesy of the Jamestown Foundation)

    28/09/2017 13:27:00 MALAYSIA – CHINA
    Kuala Lumpur arrests and deports 29 Uighurs to China

    They had entered the country on false passports. They are accused of being Islamic State militants. The two countries boost anti-terrorism and cross-border co-operation.

    01/09/2011 CHINA – PAKISTAN
    Xinjiang: China-Eurasia Expo opens under the shadow of Uyghur Muslim separatists
    Pakistan President Zardari, who was present at the ceremony inaugurating the first expo set for 1-5 September in Urumqi, said his country is ready to cooperate with Beijing against Muslim extremism. The latter, however, is a pretext to crack down on minority Muslim Uyghurs. China’s main airports are put on high alert.

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