China bans schools and parents in Muslim province from spreading religion

China has banned parents and guardians in its heavily Muslim region of Xinjiang from encouraging their children into religious activities.

The government unveiled new education rules on October 12 meaning that those who encourage or force their children into religious activities will be reported to the police.

Previous rules have already banned beards for men and head coverings for women in a province that is home to over ten million Muslims.

China claims that the legal, cultural and religious rights of Muslims in Xinjiang are fully protected.

However many Muslim Uigur people resent increasing restrictions on their culture and religion and complain they are denied economic opportunities amid an influx of Han Chinese into the province.


The new education rules come into effect on November 1 and forbid parents and guardians from forcing minors to attend religious activities, reports Xinjiang Daily.

The rules also ban religious activities in schools and state that if parents cannot guide their children away from harmful extremist ways then they can apply to have their children sent to specialist schools to receive ‘rectification’.

The government has called for people to report the banned activities to the police.

In recent years, hundreds of people have died in unrest blamed by the Chinese government on Islamist militants.

Previous rules in the province ban men from growing beards and women from wearing a veil.

In April 2014, the Global Times reported that officials in Xinjiang offered rewards of up to 50,000 yuan (£6,066) for those who tipped police off with information on separatist activities which included growing facial hair.

While in 2015, Radio Free Asia reported that Uygur imams in Kashgar were forced to tell children that prayer was harmful for the soul and to declare that ‘our income comes from the Chinese Communist Party, not from Allah.’