Yuxi, Yunnan: Ramadan Fasting Prohibited to Minors and Party Members

The end of previous tolerance for Ramadan is seen as a punishment for local Muslims’ protests against the Sinicization of Najiaying Mosque.

by Ma Guangyao

The notice by the Yuxi Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau.

“Bitter Winter” has received from Muslim believers in Yuxi, Yunnan, copy of a document issued by the Yuxi Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau, prohibiting CCP members and minors from fasting during current Ramadan.

The translation of the document is as follows:

“Urgent notice on the investigation of party members and minors participating in religious activities such as fasting.

Party committees and governments of each county (city, district), municipal units and relevant municipal enterprises should note:

Fasting is one of the religious practices of Islam and belongs to religious activities. At present, it is the month of Ramadan in Islam. In order to prevent Party members and minors from participating in religious activities such as fasting, the relevant matters are hereby regulated as follows:

I. Comprehensively carry out the investigation and rectification of Party members’ participation in religious activities such as fasting. Educate the majority of Communist Party members to strictly abide by the political discipline of not believing in religion, be a firm Marxist atheist, and strictly prohibit participation in religious activities. Party committees, governments and municipal units of all counties (cities and districts) shall carry out a comprehensive investigation of Party members in their respective jurisdiction, units, systems, all walks of life and rural Party members, criticize and educate Party members who participate in religious activities such as fasting and worship in a timely manner, and urge corrections. Those who are still not corrected after education shall be seriously dealt with in accordance with relevant regulations.

II. Comprehensively investigate the participation of minors in religious activities such as fasting. The county (city, district) party committees, governments, municipal education and sports bureaus, and league municipal committees should comprehensively organize and carry out the investigation of minors’ participation in religious activities such as fasting. Adhere to the principle of separating education from religion, strengthen the education and guidance of teachers, students and young people, strictly prohibit schools at all levels and off-campus training institutions to facilitate minors to participate in religious activities such as fasting, strictly prohibit religious activities in schools, and strictly prohibit any organization or individual from using religion to interfere in schools. Use regular teaching management, serious investigation, and punishment against the enrollment of minors to participate in religious activities such as fasting.

III. Effectively prevent public opinion from criticizing these measures online. Do a good job in the prevention and control of public opinion, and timely investigate and deal with religious public opinion on the Internet to eliminate hidden risks. Strengthen the publicity of the Measures for the Administration of Internet Religious Information Services and relevant laws and regulations, and understand that citizens shall not publish religious-related information on the Internet at will. Those who violate the rules will be investigated for their responsibility in accordance with the law.

For important information, report to the Civil Affairs Bureau in time.”

The document has generated protest among local Muslims. They should not be surprised: participation of both minors and CCP members in religious activities is forbidden by Chinese law. However, local Hui Muslim believers told “Bitter Winter” that for decades Ramadan fasting has been regarded as an ethnic rather than religious practice and tolerated also for minors and members of the Party.

Najiaying Mosque before (credits) and after Sinicization.

It is true that similar provisions have been enacted elsewhere this year, but not everywhere. “Make no mistake,” a Muslim community leader in Yuxi told “Bitter Winter,” “we in Yuxi are being singled out and punished because we dared to publicly protest the vandalism that targeted our beautiful Najiaying Mosque under the name of ‘Sinicization.’ The mosque has been ‘Sinicized’ anyway and now comes the vengeance of the CCP.”