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East Turkestan: Regional Government Unleashes ‘Uyghur Suppression Law’ August 8, 2016

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On 5 August 2016, regional authorities in Xinjiang passed another controversial anti-terrorism law, which – as human rights groups and activists deplore – is an “Uyghur Suppression Law” in disguise. Being a region with a history of gross human rights violations committed in the name of counterterrorism and the criminalization of peaceful political movements, the law could provide regional security forces with a justification for its ongoing crackdown on the ethnic Uyghurs population in Xinjiang and facilitate future abuses.

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Authorities Detain Uyghur Web Masters And Writers in China’s Xinjiang July 7, 2016

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Authorities in northwestern China’s Xinjiang region detained five web administrators and writers for two months before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to keep them from criticizing Chinese regulations that restrain Uyghurs’ activities during this time, sources inside the region said.

Just before Ramadan, when Muslim Uyghurs fast during daylight hours for 30 days, news appeared on social media and on Uyghur-language websites that police had apprehended several website owners and managers in the region.

Through telephone interviews, RFA’s Uyghur Service was able to confirm that at least five Uyghurs were held between March and May—Tursunjan Memet, Omerjan Hesen, Ababekri Muhtar, Akbarjan Eset, and an online writer whose name could not be confirmed.

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China Restricts Ramadan Fast For Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang July 7, 2016

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In spite of assurances by Beijing that ethnic Uyghurs living in China’s mostly Muslim Xinjiang region enjoy full religious freedom, government workers routinely block their right to fast during Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, sources in the region say.

On June 2, China issued a white paper lauding “unprecedented” levels of religious freedom in Xinjiang, adding that “no citizen suffers discrimination or unfair treatment for believing in, or not believing in, any religion,” according to official media.

However, several local government departments and middle or high schools in the Uyghur region have posted notices online in recent days ordering restrictions on the Muslim duty to fast during Ramadan, local sources told RFA’s Uyghur Service.

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In western China, authorities grapple with how to handle Ramadan July 5, 2016

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Years into the high-profile “war on terror” in the country’s far northwest, China’s officially atheist ruling party wants the world to know that it respects and honors Muslims — and that the feeling is mutual.

Across Kashgar’s refurbished Old City, there are signs extolling the state’s respect for faith. China’s minorities “warmly welcome the Party’s religious policy,” reads one at Id Kah.

The state says the violence is the product of religious extremism, and it has increased security and surveillance across the region, putting soldiers on the streets, establishing checkpoints, and policing how Uighurs conduct business, worship and dress.

Their tactics have drawn ire at home and outrage abroad — a fact that infuriates Beijing. After stories about Ramadan “fasting bans” made headlines in Indonesia and Pakistan, China invited officials from both countries to the far northwest for government-guided tours. (more…)

China bans Xinjiang officials from observing Ramadan fast July 2, 2016

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Several government departments in China’s far western region of Xinjiang have banned Muslim staff from fasting during the month of Ramadan.

One department website said that civil servants cannot “take part in fasting and other religious activities”.

State-administered Bozhou Radio and TV University said on its website that the fasting ban applied to party members, teachers and young people.

“We remind everyone that they are not permitted to observe a Ramadan fast,” it said.

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Uyghur Villagers Forced by ‘Contract’ to Spy on Neighbors April 29, 2016

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Villagers in a remote part of northwestern China’s troubled Xinjiang region are being forced by local authorities to spy on their neighbors, watching constantly for behavior deemed “suspicious” or opposed to Beijing’s rule over the mostly Muslim Uyghur region, sources say. (more…)

Announcement: 5th World Uyghur Congress General Assembly to be held in Paris, France April 13, 2016

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The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is pleased to announce that it’s 5th General Assembly will be taking place in Paris, France, from 11-13 July 2016. (more…)

Chinese Policy Leaves Uyghurs Impoverished in Xinjiang’s Hotan Prefecture, Farmers Say April 1, 2016

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China’s policies have increased poverty among ethnic minority Uyghurs in a prefecture of the country’s northwestern Xinjiang region, despite government claims that it has poured funds into development and the improvement of local livelihoods, residents of the prefecture said.

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China’s proxy war in Syria: Revealing the role of Uighur fighters March 2, 2016

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A few months ago, in a remote town in Idlib province, northern Syria, an unusual foreign militant presence alarmed Syrian locals. The fighters were reportedly of the Muslim Uighur minority from Xinjiang province in Western China.

For a population which has grown used to the multinational nature of the militancy, two aspects of these new fighters struck them: their large numbers and their ethnicity. A year ago, they were barely hundreds of Uighur fighters, belonging to the Al-Nusra Front-allied Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP). Today, according to several sources in the province, there are a few thousand Uighur fighters, and many of them arrived with their families after a long and treacherous journey from China and central Asia.

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China Commutes Sentences of 11 Jailed Uyghurs February 3, 2016

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Authorities in northwestern China’s restive Xinjiang region have reduced the sentences of 11 ethnic Uyghurs convicted of terrorism and other acts endangering state security, announcing the commutations at a prison rally on Feb. 1, the U.S.-based Dui Hua Foundation said this week. (more…)