The new restrictions in the far western region of Xinjiang include a series of measures, including banning religious wedding ceremonies and “using the name Halal to interfere in the secular life of others.”
New legislation, passed by Xinjiang lawmakers and posted on the region’s official news site, expands existing rules and comes into force today.
Xinjiang is home to the Uyghur Muslim people who say they are discriminated against.
Hundreds of people have died in the region in recent years, with Beijing blaming the unrest on Islamist militants and separatists.
Rights groups say the violence is in response to government crackdown that may push some Uyghurs to extremism.
According to Reuters, workers in public spaces like train stations and airports will be required to “deter” those with full body coverage, including covering their faces, from entering and reporting them to police, according to the rules. .
It will be prohibited to “reject or refuse radio, television and other public facilities and services”, to marry using religious rather than legal procedures and “to use the name Halal to meddle in secular life. of others ”.
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The rules say, “Parents must adopt good moral conduct to influence their children, educate them to revere science, pursue culture, uphold ethnic unity, and refuse and oppose extremism.
The document also prohibits not allowing children to attend regular school, disregarding family planning policies, willfully damaging legal documents, and “growing beards and unnaturally naming children to exaggerate the law. religious fervor ”.
A number of bans on certain “extremist behavior” had already been introduced in parts of Xinjiang, including preventing people wearing scarves, veils and long beards from boarding buses in at least one city.
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The new rules expand the list and apply them to the entire region.
China officially guarantees freedom of religion, but authorities have issued a series of measures in recent years to tackle what it sees as a rise in religious extremism.
The government firmly denies any abuses in Xinjiang and insists that the legal, cultural and religious rights of Uyghurs are fully protected.
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While Uyghurs have traditionally practiced a more relaxed form of Islam, the popularity of veils for women in particular has increased in recent years, which experts say is an expression of opposition to Chinese controls.
After a period of relative calm, there has been an upsurge in violence in recent months in the Uyghur heartland of southern Xinjiang and a sharp increase in security.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a “great iron wall” to protect Xinjiang at the annual meeting of the Chinese parliament earlier this month.