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Chinese government bans Ramadan fasting for schools and civil servants

Beijing has banned Xinjiang officials and schools from participating in Ramadan fasting and religious activities.

Students, teachers, and civil servants in the Xinjiang province, which is predominantly populated by Muslim Uighurs, are barred from participating in the Muslim holy month, reports the South China Morning Post.

Similar restrictions by the ruling Communist party — which is officially atheist — have occurred in recent years, but this year has seen a greater number of terror attacks across China, with critics calling for Beijing to expand religious freedoms. In the past, Beijing has claimed the restrictions are enforced to preserve government employees' health.

"We remind everyone that they are not permitted to observe a Ramadan fast," the state-run Bozhou Radio and TV University said on its website. Other government agencies' websites reported similar statements. The South China Morning Post also reports that authorities inspected Uighur homes to ensure the fast was not being observed.