A new multi-media site by Radio-Free Asia on Kashgar is worth perusing.
I’m just so livid – this is pure and simple oppression!
Chinese authorities in Xinjiang Province have issued a notice that any Uyghur cadres or workers found not eating lunch during Ramadan could lose their jobs.
It is part of the campaign of local authorities in Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uyghur ethnic group, to force the Uyghur people to give up their religious rituals during the fasting month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is a holy month in the Islamic calendar, which begun this year on Aug. 22. It requires not eating during the daytime.
“Free lunches, tea, and coffee—that authorities are calling ‘Care from the government’ or ‘Living allowance’—are being offered in government departments and companies. But it is actually a ploy used to find out who is fasting,” said Dilxat Raxit, World Uyghur Congress spokesman, speaking to The Epoch Times.
According to Dilxat, Uyghur Communist Party cadres throughout Xinjiang had been forced to sign “letters of responsibility” promising to avoid fasting and other religious activities. They are also responsible for enforcing the policy in their assigned areas, and face punishment if anyone in these areas fasts.
For the first time, Dilxat said, the crackdown has extended to retired Communist Party members. Current cadres are required to visit them to prevent them from participating in the fast. If anyone violates the ban, local leaders will be held responsible and severely punished, he said.
Muslim restaurant owners are forced to sign a document to remain open and continue selling alcohol during Ramadan or have their licenses revoked, he said.
Uyghurs arrested during the July riots in Urumqi are also prohibited from fasting; those who insist on fasting will be force fed food and water while enduring insults for their misbehavior, he said in the interview.
Monks in mosques are forced to preach to others that fasting is a “feudal activity” and harmful to health, said Dilxat. Otherwise, their religious certification will be cancelled.
When asked about Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Hu Jintao’s recent visit to Xinjiang, Dilxat said: “Xinjiang’s situation has not yet returned to normal. Rather than asking the local Han people to respect the religion and culture of Uyghur people, Hu encouraged the use of military troops to suppress and further restrict our religious freedom. The communist regime often talks about ‘maintaining stability,’ but what they do is always different from what they say. They are actually the ones who are destroying stability.”
An Epoch Times reporter contacted the CCP’s State Ethnic Affairs Commission to see whether the restrictions claimed by Dilxat were official, or what the official stance on Ramadan was. The media contact wouldn’t speak on the subject, instead giving two numbers in Xinjiang that he said the reporter would be able to call to find out more. Both numbers were continually busy, and when the reporter called the State Ethnic Affairs Commission back, the man hung up.
The directives are communicated on official Web sites in the region, however.
Additional reporting by Matthew Robertson
I’m so pissed off!
China Fears Ethnic Strife Could Agitate Uighur Oasis
by Andrew Jacobs, New York Times, July 22, 2009
KASHGAR, China — Ali the tour guide seemed nice enough and his English flowed with grammatical perfection — a useful attribute in a city where most people speak a Turkic language that sounds nothing like Chinese.
“Sure, I will take you wherever you want to go, but first I have to call my friend and see if he will drive us,” Ali said, turning away. After a quick exchange, he hung up the phone and politely announced that his friend was actually a government minder who would soon be arriving to guide the would-be clients away from any potential trouble.
The destination his “friend” had in mind? The airport, where the reporters, subject to a ban on foreign journalists, would be escorted onto the next flight out of town.
“Sorry,” Ali said as the journalists prepared to flee in a taxi. “But if I didn’t make that call, I would get in big trouble.”
Kashgar, the ancient Silk Road oasis and backpacker lure, has been besieged by fear since ethnic rioting about two weeks ago claimed at least 197 lives in Urumqi, the capital of this northwestern expanse known as the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Although the two cities are separated by about 700 miles of punishing desert and snow-draped mountains, the authorities are especially anxious about potential unrest in Kashgar, a city of 3.4 million that is 90 percent Uighur, a Muslim minority that has long had a mercurial relationship with the Han Chinese who govern Xinjiang.
The petition is slowly still gaining momentum at 6768 signatures.. c’mon people, help us get more! Click here to sign the petition.
Also, I just received the RCI link from their office today so have uploaded it in the press section/YouTube. You can listen to it here as well:
So I was on the Radio Canada International for almost 7-9 minutes! I think we got great coverage for the website, the campaign and I actually was able to say everything I wanted to say! Whew…*relaxes* Thank God for extra preparation!
Going to be interviewed tomorrow, July 15, on Radio-Canada International just after 12:00pm EST on the campaign. This station is broadcast on the web and through satellite so unfortunately you can’t tune into in in Canada through AM /FM. If I can get a recording of the interview, I’ll put it on this website.
Tune into http://www.rciviva.ca/rci/en/ and listen online!
Welcome to the Save Kashgar campaign site! We hope you will join our voice and those of thousands around the world who are committed to the preservation of historical Kashgar, Xinjiang Autonomous Province, in China.
This website has been set up to provide a one central point for the Save Kashgar campaign, as we’ve been getting media coverage and people want to spread the word. Rather than provide cumbersome links to our facebook and petitions sites, this website will be the one-stop source for information on the campaign. Other campaigns are also springing up around the world so if you have any additional links/websites you’d like us to link to, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.