The Id Kah mosque in Kashgar, Xinjiang
Here we go again. Welcome to Xinjiang, probably the only place on earth where your decision not to eat may be construed as a subversive act — if you’re a Muslim and a Communist Party official, that is.
Multiple government websites in the northwestern province have issued directives banning Muslim officials and apparently students too from fasting and making visits to mosques during the holy month of Ramadan which began July 20.
A sample statement according to the AFP:
A statement from Zonglang township in Xinjiang’s Kashgar district said that “the county committee has issued comprehensive policies on maintaining social stability during the Ramadan period.
“It is forbidden for Communist Party cadres, civil officials (including those who have retired) and students to participate in Ramadan religious activities.”
The statement, posted on the Xinjiang government website, urged party leaders to bring “gifts” of food to local village leaders to ensure that they were eating during Ramadan.
Similar orders on curbing Ramadan activities were posted on other local government websites, with the educational bureau of Wensu county urging schools to ensure that students do not enter mosques during Ramadan.
Xinjiang’s hardline government has also been making things difficult for the province’s numerous underground churches, attended mostly by Han Chinese Christians.
According to the US-based China Aid Association, two key members of the Xinjiang Hetian Church have been charged with illegal gatherings, an offence that could land them a 15-day prison sentence if found guilty.
A Sunday School summer camp in the provincial capital of Xinjiang was also raided recently. Teachers and students taken to the local police station were subjected to physical abuse, claims China Aid.