Militants want ban on laughter, crying, says Chinese governor

Published April 8, 2014
The governor of China’s Xinjiang region. — Photo by Reuters
The governor of China’s Xinjiang region. — Photo by Reuters

BEIJING: The governor of China’s restive region of Xinjiang wrote on Monday that Islamist militants were trying to ban laughter at weddings and crying at funerals, as he appealed to people to stamp out the “tumour” of extremism.

Xinjiang has been beset by violence for years, blamed by the government on militants and separatists.

Exiles and many rights groups say the real cause of the unrest is China’s heavy-handed policies, including curbs on Islam and the culture and language of the Muslim Uighur people who call Xinjiang home.

China’s nervousness about extremism has grown since a car burst into flames on the edge of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in October, and 29 people were stabbed to death last month in the southwestern city of Kunming.

Beijing blamed Xinjiang militants for both.

Writing in the official Xinjiang Daily, Governor Nur Bekri said that acts of terrorism had been made possible by extremists taking advantage of people’s faith, especially “young people who have seen little of the world”.

“In order to incite fanaticism and control believers, religious extremists have blatantly distorted religious teachings…,” he wrote. “They use this to bewilder believers into what they believe is `jihad’ in the form of suicide terrorist attacks or other violence.”

People who do not follow the strictures of the Islamists are condemned by them as “traitors” and “scum”, he said.

China’s ruling Communist Party has issued similar warnings in the past about extremism, accompanied by a harsh crackdown on suspected militants.

Uighurs have traditionally followed a moderate form of Islam, but many have begun adopting practices more commonly seen in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, such as full-face veils for women, as China has intensified a security crackdown in recent years.

Mr Bekri, a Uighur himself, accused the militants of ignoring the region’s own traditions and of wanting to enforce a strict theocratic society.

“They...push the banning of watching television, listen to the radio, reading newspapers, singing and dancing, not allowing laughter at weddings nor crying at funerals,” he added. “They force men to grow beards and women to wear the burka.”—Reuters

Opinion

Civil liberties
23 Oct 2021

Civil liberties

The late I.A. Rehman is esteemed on both sides of the border.
The Hamza factor
Updated 23 Oct 2021

The Hamza factor

A new story is quietly unfolding inside the PML-N and there may yet be a surprise twist.
What should Imran Khan do?
Updated 23 Oct 2021

What should Imran Khan do?

Making a mishmash of religion and politics won’t turn Pakistan into a welfare state. Here’s what can.
Afghan health crises
Updated 22 Oct 2021

Afghan health crises

The condition and prospects of Afghanistan’s health sector are complex and grave.

Editorial

A final push
Updated 23 Oct 2021

A final push

PAKISTAN’S hopes of exiting the so-called FATF grey list have been shattered once again. The global money...
23 Oct 2021

Kabul visit

FOREIGN MINISTER Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s flying visit to Kabul on Thursday is the first official high-level...
23 Oct 2021

Baqir’s blooper

THE remarks made by State Bank governor Reza Baqir at a London press conference have hit a raw nerve in Pakistan. In...
Spate of attacks
Updated 22 Oct 2021

Spate of attacks

Following a near-constant decline since 2016, the year 2021 has witnessed a precipitous rise in violence-related fatalities in KP.
22 Oct 2021

Libel suits

THE outcome of two libel cases recently decided by courts in England should be edifying for the government — if it...
22 Oct 2021

Education losses

A NEW report on the education losses suffered by Pakistani children due to pandemic-induced school closures sheds...