The Karamay city government in China announced a ban on “abnormal” clothing and hairstyles associated with Muslims from public transport last week to combat potential terrorist activities during the 13th Xinjiang Sports Games between Aug. 8 to 20, 2014.
The announcement was released on Aug. 4 with a poster depicting the so-called “five abnormal appearances”.
The relationship between the Uyghur people in China’s western Xinjiang region and the Chinese government is tumultuous. Ethnic tensions have at times resulted in deadly clashes between Uyghur activists and authorities. The current clampdown came after bloody ethnic unrest broke out in Kashgar city on July 28. Thirty-seven civilians were killed, while police gunned down 59 suspected assailants, according to the government’s official account.
Charles Liu from Nanfang.com noted that it is likely the “temporary measure” will become a long-term policy. As early as June 4 this year, authorities in Xinjiang began pressuring the public to stop wearing Muslim outfits because it is “not normal”. Last month, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Xinjiang government even banned its civil servants from the religious practice of fasting.
The news on the ban of the “five abnormal appearances” was highlighted in major news portals and social media. Public responses were rather extreme. On the one side, many have shown their support for the policy, with some even suggesting that the ban be extended all across the country.
Read more: globalvoicesonline.org – Written by Oiwan Lam