China bans name ‘Mohammed’ for Xinjiang newborns

China bans name ‘Mohammed’ for Xinjiang newborns

Latest clampdown from Beijing on Islamic symbols in restive western region

Chinese authorities in the western frontier region of Xinjiang have banned parents from giving newborns Muslim names such as “Mohammed” and “Jihad”, the latest clampdown on symbols of Islam in an ethnically fractious area of China. 

“We received a notice from municipal authorities that all those born in Xinjiang cannot have overly religious or splittist names,” said a public security official in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital. “If your family has circumstances like this, you should change your child’s name.” 

Those who do not comply with the new naming regulations will not be able to receive a hukou, or household registration, an essential identification document needed for access to education, welfare benefits and employment.

The new regulations are an expansion of existing 2015 rules, which restricted newborns from being given Muslim names such as “Fatima” or “Saddam” in Hotan prefecture, a jade-trading centre along the ancient Silk Road in western Xinjiang.