Beijing: China today banned burqas in public places in the capital of its Muslim-majority Xinjiang region which is often hit by separatist violence, a day after regional authorities prohibited extremist content on the web to prevent radicalisation of youths.
Authorities in the regional capital Urumqi cited France and Belgium, where the Islamic garment worn by Muslim woman to cover themselves from head-to-toe, has been banned.
The legislature of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region approved a regulation banning burqas stating that it is not a traditional dress for Uygur women.
Officials of the regional People's Congress told the official Xinhua news agency today that the regulation will go into effect after being amended. It was drafted by municipal legislature of Urumqi last year.
The regulation is seen as an effort to curb increasing extremism that forced Uygur women to abandon their colourful traditional dress and wear black burqas, the news agency reported.
Yesterday, the province banned religious extremist and terror-related content on the Internet. Officials said the ban would be helpful in weeding out Islamist content out of the web and prevent radicalisationof the youth.
The regulation followed increased violent attacks by the banned East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), whose pronounced aim is to fight for a separate Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Afghanistan.
China has launched massive crackdown on the ETIM, an al Qaeda-backed outfit reportedly having bases in Pakistan's tribal areas.
ETIM has been active in the Xinjiang, a resource-rich region long inhabited by the Turkic-speaking, largely ethnic Muslim Uygurs who number 11 million. The province witnessed riots for several years following Uygur resentment about increasing settlements of Han Chinese from other provinces.
Critics, including exiled Uygur activists, have attributed the rise of violence in the region to China's increasingly repressive rule—a claim the government vehemently denies.