BEIJING (TIP): China has ordered schools and government offices in the northwest Xinjiang region to ban fasting during the ongoing holy month of Ramzan. The ban orders are being issued through websites of schools and government agencies in the region as well. “Civil servants and students cannot take part in fasting and other religious activities,” said Turfan city’s commercial affairs bureau on its website.The local government in Xinjiang had earlier asked its employees to refrain from observing Ramzan saying fasting can hurt their health.”We remind everyone that they are not permitted to observe Ramadan fast,” the state-run Bozhou Radio and TV University said on its website. “We would enforce the ban on party members, teachers, and young people from taking part in Ramzan activities.
” The Chinese Communist Party and the local government in Xinjiang discourage large prayer meetings and gatherings due to fears of separatism. The fasting ban orders are believed to have come from Beijing’s Public Security Bureau. A weather bureau in Qaraqash County in western Xinjiang cited “instructions from higher authorities” while asking “all current and retired staff not to fast during Ramzan”.
“China taking these kinds of coercive measures, restricting the faith of Uighurs, will create more conflict,” exiled World Uyghur Congress spokesman Dilxat Raxit said in a statement. “We call on China to ensure religious freedom for Uighurs and stop political repression of Ramzan.