Tags: China | Uighur | Muslims | vices

China Orders Muslim Stores, Eateries to Sell Booze, Cigarettes

By    |   Tuesday, 05 May 2015 04:42 PM

China is said to be trying to undermine Islam by ordering Muslim store and restaurant owners in the mostly Muslim Xinjiang region to sell alcohol and cigarettes and to promote such vices as part of "eye-catching displays."

If Uighur Muslim business owners don't comply with the new regulations, they face having their businesses closed down as well as prosecution, Radio Free Asia reported.

The notice sent to Uighurs who own restaurants and grocery stores said that they must sell five different brands of both alcohol and cigarettes, which must then be prominently displayed.

"Anybody who neglects this notice and fails to act will see their shops sealed off, their businesses suspended, and legal action pursued against them," the notice obtained by RFA said.

The measures are part of a series of "strike hard" campaigns designed to weaken the Muslim influence in that region, in the face of growing violence in recent years over oppressive rule.

In addition to the new alcohol and cigarette rules for business owners, the Chinese government has also forbidden government employees and children from attending mosques and observing Ramadan. In some areas, woman are not allowed to wear veils over their faces, and men are not supposed to grow long beards.

Xinjiang Communist Party official Adil Sulayman told Radio Free Asia that since about 2012, local Uighur business owners were no longer selling alcohol and cigarettes, out of fear of "public scorn," since such things are apparently forbidden in the Koran.

Not smoking is viewed by Xinjiang officials as "a form of religious extremism," Sulayman said. "We have a campaign to weaken religion here, and this is part of that campaign."

He said that so far about 60 Muslim business owners have complied with the rules, and there have not been any protests.

James Leibold of La Trobe University in Melbourne and expert on ethnic issues in China told The Washington Post that when the Chinese try to take on supposed extremism they are "often flailing around in the dark" by giving great attention to customs such as veils, beards and alcohol, which typically end up being counterproductive.

"These sorts of mechanistic and reactive policies only serve to inflame ethno-national tension without addressing the root causes of religious extremism, while further alienating the mainstream Uighur community, making them feel increasingly unwelcome within a hostile, Han-dominated society," Leibold said.

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China is said to be trying to undermine Islam by ordering Muslim store and restaurant owners in the mostly Muslim Xinjiang region to sell alcohol and cigarettes and to promote such vices as part of "eye-catching displays."
China, Uighur, Muslims, vices
393
2015-42-05
Tuesday, 05 May 2015 04:42 PM
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