No fast for CPC members during Ramadan

By Jiang Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2014-7-3 1:13:01

CPC discipline stipulates atheism for Communists: official

Party discipline is the primary motivation for restrictions on fasting placed on government officials and CPC members in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region during Ramadan, said experts and officials Wednesday.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, during which adherents usually fast from dawn to sunset, began Saturday. 

A number of local government websites in Xinjiang have posted notices regarding conduct for employees, Communist Party of China (CPC) members and students.

"CPC and League members, civil servants and students cannot take part in fasting and other religious activities. All CPC officials and civil servants should guide family members and friends to act in line with the law and fight against illegal religious activities," said a Monday press release from Turpan commercial bureau. 

On June 28, the Bozhou Radio and TV University in Bole in northwest Xinjiang posted the ban on fasting for CPC members, teachers, and minors.

"We remind everyone that we are not permitted to observe a Ramadan fast," it said, adding that teachers would be dismissed if they violated the rule.

Tursunjan Ali, deputy Party chief of Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture, said on the first day of Ramadan that while Ramadan is a universal Muslim tradition, observance of these traditions does not apply to CPC members, especially those from minority groups.

"It is a clearly-stipulated political discipline that CPC members and civil servants cannot profess a religion. This is also an important test of our solid political belief," Ali was quoted as saying by the Ili Daily.

Hou Hanmin, spokesperson for the Xinjiang government, previously told the Global Times that the authorities do encourage residents to eat properly for study and work purposes, but do not force people to eat during Ramadan.

"I wouldn't fast anyway with or without a ban as it's stipulated in the Party regulation that a member can't profess any religion. Moreover, I need to stay strong and sober to handle my heavy workload every day," an anonymous Uyghur official from Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Zhang Yuxia, an associate professor at an Urumqi-based university, told the Global Times that it is routine practice in the region to circulate such notices around Ramadan as fasting could interfere with studies and the health of students is also a consideration. It could also prevent students from being misled by religious extremists, who could take advantage of religious sentiment.

"It is also written in the Koran that seniors, minors or those in poor health don't have to fast," Zhang noted. Some parents do not ask their children to fast as it is bad for health, she said.

This year's ban is also intended to protect the public amid the specter of terrorism in the region, said Zhang.

"If everyone fasts, more people would crowd into Muslim restaurants after sunset, which is about 11 pm. That would become another easy target for terrorists," Zhang said.

She added that the night market in Urumqi has been suspended after an attack at a market killed 31 people in May.

Security has become of paramount concern since a spate of deadly terror attacks both inside the region and outside in recent months, leading to fears of overseas-incited religious extremism.

Newspaper headline: No fast for Party members during Ramadan

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