Civil servants, students and teachers in a predominantly Muslim region of China have been told they are not allowed to fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
The customary ban, which also orders restaurant to keep normal opening hours, was imposed by the Chinese Communist party which is officially atheist.
Despite 58 per cent of the population in the Xinjiang region calling themselves Uighur Muslims, they
A notice on a government website in the central Xinjiang city of Korla read as: "Party members, cadres, civil servants, students and minors must not fast for Ramadan and must not take part in religious activities.
A notice posted last week on the website of the state Food and Drug Administration in the county added: “Food service workplaces will operate normal hours during Ramadan.”
The move, which has been slammed by rights groups around the world, has been around for a number of years.
Dilxat Rexit, a spokesman for the exiled World Uyghur Congress, said it only adds to ethnic tensions already existent in China.
“China's goal in prohibiting fasting is to forcibly move Uighurs away from their Muslim culture during Ramadan,” he said.
“Policies that prohibit religious fasting are a provocation and will only lead to instability and conflict.”