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The flag of the short-lived East Turkestan Republic, 1944-1949, now banned in China As I alluded in my earlier primer on the oppression of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province, China, the Chinese authorities are engaged in what amounts to a cultural genocide against the Uyghur people. One of the ways this is done is by denying the Uyghurs the ability to practice their faith freely – such as forbidding Uyghurs from fasting during Ramadan:

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.

(…) “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.

“Care from the government” indeed. As Ramadan draws to a close, we muslims in the West who enjoy the benefits of religious freedom are counting down the final fasts, looking forward to the simple luxury of lunch. Suddenly, I’m not hungry.

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