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China Bans Muslim Beards And Veils

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NO long beards. No veils in public places. No home-schooling. China is intensifying its crackdown against what it deems religious extremism in the far-west province of Xinjiang, which is home to 10 million Muslims.

The latest measures — outlined in a sweeping new anti-extremism legislation — take effect Saturday and come on the heels of a series of steps to increase surveillance in the region that include the surrender of passports and mandatory GPS trackers in cars.

“They’re doubling down on security in Xinjiang,” said James Leibold, an associate professor at Australia’s Le Trobe University, whose research focuses on China’s Uyghur minority.

However, not all Xinjiang residents see Beijing’s security build-up as a problem.

“I don’t think they’re restrictions,” a 30-year-old Uyghur woman in Xinjiang’s Manasi County told CNN earlier this month on the condition of anonymity because she’s not authorized to speak to media by her employer. “I think the government is doing its job.”

She said while she’s noticed a steady influx of ethnic Han Chinese move into the region over the years, but she hasn’t felt discriminated — either in the Chinese school she attended or in her job as a nurse.

She added she didn’t mind attending the mandatory weekly flag raising ceremony, because it’s the same thing she did in school growing up, and thinks installing GPS in vehicles and other surveillance devices is for the greater good.

Dolkun Isa, Secretary General of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), an exile group based in Germany, said that Chinese news coverage focuses on violence perpetrated by a tiny fraction of the population and “this shapes how some view Uyghurs generally — though clearly unfairly.” – CNN

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