The Financial Times reports that China has banned religious activities amongst students and city officials in Xinjiang, where half of the population are Uighurs. Uighurs are mostly muslim.

The Chinese Communist party requires local governments to ban students and officials from fasting and visiting mosques in what it calls “special security and stability work plans” during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The tighter policies come after high levels of unrest which have prompted fears of a repeat of racial riots in July 2009, which killed almost 200 people.

Uighurs accused Beijing of “repression”. The indigenous group oppose Chinese rule and protested against state-sanctioned persecution and marginalization. According to the FT, authorities forced low-income families to abandon some Muslim traditions in exchange for social security payments. Women were also asked to sign a pledge not to wear a veil in exchange for subsidies for their families.