A city in far western China, with a large Muslim population, has begun a campaign to discourage women from wearing headbags and men from growing long beards, in a bid to ‘dilute religious consciousness.’
TRIBUNE Many Uighurs, a Turkic language-speaking Muslim people native to Xinjiang, resent Chinese rule and controls on their religion, culture and language, and the region has seen sporadic cases of violent unrest. (Unlike the West, China knows how to deal with its muslim problems)
The notice said the government in the Dunmaili district of Yining had decided to “further implement the Party’s activities to dilute religious consciousness and advocate a civilised and healthy lifestyle.”
One of the campaign’s aims, it said, was to end the “the abnormal phenomenon” of ethnic minority women and youth wearing Arab dress, growing long beards or covering their faces in veils.
Women who had already “been transformed” would be invited to hold talks to discuss their experience, as would women who had launched successful careers.
Hou Hanmin, a Xinjiang government spokeswoman, told Reuters she was not aware of the notice, but that generally people in the region were free to wear what they wanted, including ethnic minorities. “However, for certain jobs and in education there are rules about what you cannot wear simply as a matter of convenience,” she said by telephone.
Yining, also known as Ghulja or Yili, has a population of some 515,000 people, about 46 percent of whom are Uighur, according to the 2010 census figures. It was the site of deadly riots in 1997.
While Uighurs have traditionally practiced a more relaxed form of Islam, parts of Xinjiang have become noticeably more conservative and Islamic over the past few years, despite government efforts to reverse that trend. (Give’em time, China won’t reverse the trend, they will eliminate the ‘trendsetters’)