XINJIANG, China, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- The Chinese Communist party has stepped up efforts to prevent Muslims in Xinjiang from fasting and visiting mosques during Ramadan.
A statement from officials in the Zonglang Township in Xinjiang's Kashgar district said "the county committee has issued comprehensive policies on maintaining social stability during the Ramadan period."
The predominantly Muslim Uighurs people account for about half of Xinjiang's population and the government has long implemented restrictions on religious activities in the area, the Financial Times reported. The Uighurs oppose colonial policies in their homeland and unrest has been rising in the area since racial riots in 2009 killed nearly 200 people, the Times said.
The increasing unrest has led to tighter restrictions on religion as education officials are encouraged to make sure Muslim children are eating during the Ramadan fasting period, Pakistan's The International News reported.
"It is forbidden for Communist Party cadres, civil officials (including those who have retired) and students to participate in Ramadan religious activities," the Zonglang Township statement read.