- Residents of China’s Muslim-majority Xinjiang region must provide DNA samples when applying for travel documents, according to new rules. Local authorities have also put restrictions on fasting during Ramadan.
The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began this week, is a sensitive period of the year in Xinjiang. Beijing blames the Muslim-majority region’s Uighur militants for attacks in the country that have left hundreds of people dead in recent years.
Now the authorities have mandated that the residents of the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture provide DNA samples, fingerprints, voiceprints and a “three-dimensional image” in order to apply for passports. Separate documents will be issued to the residents for travel to the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macao, as well as the self-ruled Taiwan, according to the official newspaper “IIi Daily.”
The new policy came into effect just before Ramadan with rights activists accusing Chinese authorities of a discriminatory attitude towards the country’s minority group. Those who fail to fulfill the requirements will be refused documents.
Ili Prefecture is part of Xinjiang and borders Mongolia, Russia and Kazakhstan.
A Xinjiang government website also called on Communist Party members, government officials, students and minors to not fast during Ramadan.
“During the Ramadan month, food and drink businesses must not close,” a report in “The Wall Street Journal” cited a local government website as saying.