Authorities at a village in Niya county, which is located in the south of Xinjiang and heavily populated with Muslim Uyghur people, reportedly hosted a beer festival ahead of Ramadan, a move that an exiled group has called “an open provocation”.
According to a notice from the Niya government website, the “beer competition” was held on June 15 and attracted more than 60 people in the area, Reuters reports.
The Koran says that Muslims should not drink alcohol, and Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the exiled group World Uyghur Congress, described the beer drinking festival as “an open provocation to the Islamic faith”.
Muslims around the world observe the holy month of Ramadan, which began on June 17, by abstaining from eating and drinking. State media and Xinjiang government websites once again this year posted notices banning party members, civil servants and teachers from fasting during the annual observance.
The Niya festival came just weeks after the Chinese government urged shops in Xinjiang to sell alcohol and cigarettes or face closure, a move that was seen as an attempt to undermine the Muslim religion in the restive region.