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China bans beards,veils in response to ISIS threat emanating from Uighurs

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China is the latest country to follow in the footsteps of some European countries such as France, Belgium where it is illegal to wear full veils in public  and growing “abnormal” beards  to crack down on Islamic extremism.

China has issued new regulations of banning veils,beards and also prohibiting refusing to watch government propaganda in its largest province Xinjiang  which is home to the Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighur minority  that makes up about 8 million of the province’s 19 million population. Xinjiang is bordered by eight countries including Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan,Tajikistan, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Uighurs are Muslims and they regard themselves ethnically close to central Asian nations.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is worried over reports of many  Uighurs  having crossed illegally via Southeast Asia and Turkey to join ISIS in Syria and Iraq to fight alongwith them. Chinese authorities acted  after a recent Islamic State video that shows ethnic Uighur fighters training in Iraq. It says “We will plant our flag over America, China, Russia and all the infidels of the world.”

In the ISIS video,another fighter refers to the “evil Chinese Communist infidel lackeys” “In retaliation for the tears that flow from the eyes of the oppressed, we will make your blood flow in rivers, by the will of God”he says.

Xinjiang region is of strategic important to China  and is an important security barrier in country’s northwest ,Chinese President Xi Jinping  is concerned over the increase in the number of foreign militants or jihadists who are escalating the conflict in Xinjiang and seek to establish an independent state called East Turkestan .During discussion with lawmakers from Xinjiang at the national People’s Congress session,Jinping urged the construction of a “Great Wall of Steel” to safeguard national unity,ethnic solidarity and social stability in the violence hit region.

Chinse President Xi Jinping  will meet US President Donald Trump in Florida on April6-7  to discuss the growing threat from Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.

The new regulations in Xinjiang  will come into force from Saturday onwards  prohibitions on growing  abnormal beards or wearing robes that cover the entire body and face. The authorities  would also make it illegal to “refuse or reject” watching  state television or radio, although it is not clear how the authorities would enforce this regulation

The region of Xinjiang has already witnessed a wave of violence since 1990s but things escalated in 2009 with large-scale ethnic rioting in the regional capital, Urumqi  and the outbreak of  numerous knife-wielding attacks in the volatile territory in the recent years from 2014-17 and Chinese authorities deployed  tens of thousands heavily armed troops  troops in the region to crush the violence.

Chinese authorities have also announced rewards of up to 5 million yuan to those who expose terror plots or struggle, kill, wound or subdue any attackers.

arti bali

By : Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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