Chinese President Xi Jinping called recently for the creation of a “great wall of iron” in an effort to curb extremist violence in China’s troubled far-western province of Xinjiang. Shortly thereafter, the Xinjiang People’s Congress adopted legislation that targets Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim ethnic minority.
The new legislation, which came into effect April 1, prohibits the wearing of full-face coverings by women and long beards by men. Such attire and facial hair are “deemed to promote extremism,” according to the English-language version of the state-owned newspaper China Daily.
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Gary Sands is a Senior Analyst at Wikistrat, a crowdsourced consultancy, and a Director at Highway West Capital Advisors, a venture capital, project finance and political risk advisory. He has contributed commentaries to US News and World Report, Newsweek, Washington Times, The Diplomat, The National Interest, International Policy Digest, Asia Times, Eurasia Review, Indo-Pacific Review, the South China Morning Post, Global Times and China Digital Times.