China bans Muslims from fasting during Ramadan

Ban on observing one of the Five Pillars of Islam targets Uighur minority in the northwest, gov’t workers, teachers.

China has banned millions of Muslims from fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, it has been reported.

Government statements posted online on Wednesday warned government workers, teachers and members of the ruling Communist Party in the country’s Muslim northwest not to participate in traditional fasting or religious activities for Ramadan.

Fasting between sunrise and sunset during Ramadan – the timing of which is determined by the moon and this year started on June 29 – is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

But the Communist Party has for years restricted fasting, particularly in the Xinjiang region in the northwest, which is mainly Muslim.

Home to the Uighur minority, the region often sees deadly clashes between Uighurs and state security forces.

Authorities blame separatist Muslim Uighurs, but Uighur leaders deny they are behind the attacks.

Activists have accused Beijing of exaggerating the threat from Uighur separatists to justify a crackdown on their religious and cultural freedoms.

The website of a local party committee in the county of Zhaosu said party cadres at a forestry bureau signed a pledge to “firmly resist fasting”, AFP reported.

A school also said on its website it would prevent teachers and students from fasting, while the state-run Bozhou Radio and TV university said on its website it would “enforce the ban on party members, teachers, and young people from taking part in Ramadan activities”.

“We remind everyone that they are not permitted to observe a Ramadan fast,” it added.

Chinese authorities have reportedly encouraged Uighurs to eat free meals and have inspected homes to check if the fast was being observed.

China has in the past said restrictions on fasting were meant to ensure the health of government employees, according to AFP.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Monique deLaVega

I'm sorry, but I fail to see how the gov't or anyone for that matter, can force someone to eat! if they choose to abstain. Banning fasting is banning someone from NOT eating! Ridiculous in all respects, not to mention, disrespectful for the love of God!

Posted by: Red Snappa

Well, I wonder if the GCC countries will continue to embrace the present volume of business with China, given this extreme nature of this edict and if indeed it is fact.

An enforced inspection to establish that people are eating properly, there are of course two ways of looking at that.

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Everything you need to know about Qatar

Everything you need to know about Qatar

Former British protectorate has been ruled by the Al-Thani family...

The Al Thanis are Qatar's power family

The Al Thanis are Qatar's power family

New research sheds light on the overwhelming influence of the...

Raising the bar: DLA Piper plans fresh growth in the Gulf

Raising the bar: DLA Piper plans fresh growth in the Gulf

Legal firm DLA Piper’s Middle East business recorded 10 percent...

Most Discussed