April 22, 2019
Latest News

HRW says China has banned Muslim names in troubled Xinjiang

Beijing, April 25 (efe-epa).- Chinese authorities have banned dozens of common Muslim names, like Sadam or Midina, in the north-western region of Xinjiang, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

According to the decision, children with banned names will not be able to get a residence permit called "hukou", that is required for access to medical and educational services, the organization said in a statement.

"This is just the latest in a slew of new regulations restricting religious freedom in the name of countering "religious extremism," according to HRW.

The Xinjiang government claims the names were banned because of their religious connotation, which can "exaggerate religious fervor", added HRW.

On April 1, the authorities in Xinjiang had also imposed new rules banning "abnormal" beards or a full veil and warned people of punishments for refusing to watch state TV or radio programs.

The new measures are part of China's fight against terrorism in this troubled region, home to the Muslim Uighur ethnic minority.

Conflicts between the Uighur and the Han, the majority ethnic group in China and who also control the government, are common.

Beijing usually attributes the violence to Islamist groups and secessionists, whereas Uighur groups in exile consider the conflict to be a result of repression by the communist regime.

"Violent incidents and ethnic tensions in Xinjiang have been on the rise in recent years, but the government's farcically repressive policies and punishments are hardly solutions," warned HRW.

"They are only going to deepen resentment among the Uighurs," it added.

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(Update 7 - adds details)

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