China’s government says it will not discriminate against the Muslim minority.
The Chinese government said on June 2 that the Muslim population of Xinjiang province will not face any religious discrimination. The government reiterated that the far western province of China will not be subjected to any interference during Ramadan, the traditional fasting month for Muslims. The announcement was a reaction from the criticism made by rights groups.
Ramadan is a sensitive time for Xinjiang as there was a spate of deadly attacks which Beijing blamed on Islamic militants that left a large number of the population dead. Fatalities happened by the hundreds. In the past, the Xinjiang authorities have imposed controls on Islamic practices followed by Uighur Muslim minority at the time of Ramadan. Criticism was directed towards people who were forcefully banned from worship. There were also reports that restaurants were ordered to stay open for business. Muslims observing Ramadan do not eat or drink during daylight hours.
In a news conference, Chinese Government officials said that restaurants will be permitted to keep their own hours. The administration will also legally protect all authorized activities taking place in mosques and private homes, The government continues to maintain a tight restriction over Uighur religious practices. This maintains government control and also it stops the spread of radical Islam.
Uighur Muslims living outside China and human rights groups say that restrictions imposed on fasting, dress and prayer during the month of Ramadan have increased the ethnic tensions. Efforts made by the government to assimilate the Uighurs have led to a rise in resentment towards Beijing. According to the Chinese President Xi Jinping, Communist Party members must be unyielding atheists and also the state places tough participation rules in religion by public servants, teachers and students. Chinese officials usually dismiss criticism of government policies and religious freedoms and has said that religious freedoms are at record high.
Emergency prayer sites were set by the regional government, post an earthquake during the Ramadan in 2015. Leaders of the Chinese Communist Party were also seen to eat with religious leaders to mark the end of the holy month. A report published by the government states that no citizen had suffered any kind of unfair treatment or discrimination for his or her belief- or lack of- in religion. The report further states that all religious needs and feelings are completely respected. Such pledges, however, are seen to be odds followed by leaders on the ground. Regulations ban over signs of any religious observance.