Chinese court jails a man for 6 years for growing beard 


29 March ,China: A court in  the city of Kashgar,  mainly muslim  region has sentenced a  38 year old  man to six years in prison for “provoking trouble” and growing a beard, while his wife was given two -year sentence for wearing a veil and burqa ,a practise discouraged by local authorities, a newspaper reported Sunday .The man “had started growing his beard in 2010” while his wife “wore a veil hiding her face and a burqa”, the paper said.The couple were found guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”, a vague accusation regularly used in the Chinese judicial system.

For more than a year the authorities in Xinjiang have been campaigning against men growing beards — a practice officials associate with extremist ideas.A campaign dubbed “Project Beauty” also encourages women to leave their heads bare and abandon wearing the veil, a relatively widespread practice among the Uygurs — the main Muslim ethnic group in Xinjiang.

The Kashgar couple had “received several warnings” before being charged, the newspaper reported, citing local officials.

“Since the beginning of the year, a certain number of people breaking the regulation on beards, veils and burqas have been prosecuted and sentenced,” officials in Kashgar were quoted as saying by the paper.Rights groups believe Beijing’s repression of the convicted ’ culture and religion has fanned tensions in Xinjiang, a resource-rich region that abuts central Asia.

Violence increased last year and at least 200 people were killed in a series of bombings and deadly clashes with security forces, blamed by Beijing on “separatists” and “religious extremists”.

In April last year authorities in Xinjiang’s Shaya county offered cash to informants to report on neighbours with excessive facial hair.In August authorities in Karamay city banned people with large beards or Islamic clothing from travelling on public buses.

The Oslo Times

Source:South China Morning Post

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