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Culture Clashes in China

In the face of widespread unrest over its repression and violence in the Muslim province of Xinjiang, China has launched a series of “strike hard” campaigns to weaken the hold of Islam in the region. Government employees and children have been barred from attending mosques or observing Ramadan. In many places, women have been barred from wearing face-covering veils, and men discouraged from growing long beards.

In the village of Aktash in southern Xinjiang, Communist Party official Adil Sulayman, told RFA that many local shopkeepers had stopped selling alcohol and cigarettes from 2012 “because they fear public scorn,” while many locals had decided to abstain from drinking and smoking.  In response, Chinese authorities have ordered Muslim shopkeepers and restaurant owners in Xinjiang to sell alcohol and cigarettes, and promote them in “eye-catching displays,” in an attempt to undermine Islam’s hold on local residents. Establishments that failed to comply were threatened with closure and their owners with prosecution.

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