Issue 1: Ramadan Restrictions in East Turkistan
World Uyghur Congress, 16 May 2018
Unlike anywhere in the world, the Chinese government enacts strict regulations during Ramadan, particularly for the Uyghur Muslim population in East Turkistan.
The Chinese government has banned Uyghur civil servants, students and teachers from fasting during the holy month, providing food and water to students throughout the day. Access to mosques is more tightly controlled, restaurants have been ordered to remain open and in some cases Uyghur intellectuals have been arrested beforehand to silence criticism.
In 2017 for the first time, the Chinese government embedded Chinese officials in the homes of Uyghurs in a bid to prevent Uyghurs from praying and fasting. The government launched a campaign called “Together in Five Things” a day ahead the holy month with officials staying in Uyghur homes for up to 15 days to ensure that resident neither fast nor pray. The officials stayed in the Uyghur homes as a means of better understanding the “ideological views” of the families and to propagate laws and regulations, and government ethnic and religious policies.
Chinese officials have also forced Uyghur retirees to make a pledge ahead of Ramadan that they won’t fast or pray during Ramadan to set an example for the rest of the community and to assume responsibility for ensuring that none of their friends or family members fast or pray either.