Weeks into Ramadan, authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang have punished at least 100 ethnic minority Muslims for breaking the Chinese Communist Party’s ruling.
The party have put restrictions on observance of the religious fasting month, an exile group said.
Since Muslims in China began observing dawn-to-dusk fasting and other restrictions last month the government has been imposing fines and other sanctions on any state employees who refuse to eat in the middle of the day, according to the World Uyghur Congress, which represents the mostly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group in exile.
“Since the beginning of Ramadan, at least 100 people have been punished for breaking the Chinese government’s policies on Ramadan in Kashgar and Hotan,” the group’s spokesman Dilxat Raxit said. “Some of them were fined, while others were sent to compulsory re-education classes aimed at opposing religious extremism,” he said,” they are now being forcibly brainwashed, while others were fined 500 yuan (€65)”.
He said that fines of that magnitude in themselves represent an intolerable financial burden for poverty-stricken rural families.
Mr Raxit said some of those punished were farmers, while others were state employees or government officials, all of whom are forbidden to fast or pursue any other religious activities under the atheist Communist Party.