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English>>China Society

Gov't denies banning Xinjiang Ramadan fasts

(Global Times)    11:39, July 02, 2015

China on Wednesday denied the accusation that it is banning people from observing the holy Muslim month of Ramadan and fasting in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

"The Chinese government protects normal religious activities. The Chinese Constitution states clearly that citizens enjoy religious freedom. Any government bodies, social groups and individuals cannot intervene or discriminate people from observing religious belief," read a statement published on the website of the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia on Wednesday.

The statement came after the foreign affairs ministry of Turkey on Tuesday expressed deep concern over reports about the ban on fasting and observing other religious duties on Uyghur in Xinjiang, adding that it has caused "sadness" among the Turkish people.

Before Ramadan arrived, the Xinjiang government had a meeting and reiterated that related religious activities during the Ramadan period should not be stopped, the embassy said.

It also said all religion's traditional rituals are fully respected. Muslim restaurants have the right to run their business during the period, adding that the accusation which said Xinjiang's government has stepped up controls on the Islamic faith is "inconsistent with the facts."

Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also stressed at a daily press briefing on Wednesday that all people in Xinjiang enjoy the freedom of religious belief accorded to them by the Chinese Constitution, according to Reuters.

China has demanded Turkey clarify those reports and is concerned about the statement from the Turkish foreign ministry, Hua said.

Ramadan, during which adherents usually fast from dawn to sunset, began in mid-June. Local government notices usually circulate around this time of year to encourage Party members, civil servants and students not to take part in fasting, which experts said would protect the public health and are in line with Party discipline.

Hou Hanmin, former spokesperson for the Xinjiang government, previously told the Global Times that the authorities encourage residents to eat properly for study and work purposes, but do not force people to eat during Ramadan.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Bianji)

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