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China Extends Ban on“extreme” Islamic names for Ethnic Uyghur babies Under 16

The ones 16 and above have not been ordered to change yet, due to the difficulty of changing their ID cards and driver’s licenses

A Uyghur woman is shown with her children in Kashgar, Xinjiang, in a file photo, RFE/RL
  • China has introduced ban on “extreme” Islamic names for ethnic Uyghur babies under 16
  • Names of Islamic scholars could be regarded as “promoting terror and evil cults
  • While China blames some Uyghurs for “terrorist” attacks, experts outside China say that repressive domestic policies are responsible for an upsurge in violence

China, June 3, 2017: Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang region have extended a recently introduced ban on “extreme” Islamic names for ethnic Uyghur babies to include anyone up to the age of 16, according to official sources and residents, and the order may soon include Uyghurs of all ages.

According to a recent posting on WeChat by the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region’s Public Security Bureau, Order No. 4425 requires all Uyghur parents to change the names of children under 16 years of age, if they are among those listed in a region-wide ban uncovered by RFA’s Uyghur Service.

In April, official sources told RFA that “overly religious names”—such as Islam, Quran, Mecca, Jihad, Imam, Saddam, Hajj, and Medina—were banned under the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s “Naming Rules For Ethnic Minorities,” and that any babies registered with such names would be barred from the “hukou” household registration system that gives access to health care and education.

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A police officer in Hotan (in Chinese, Hetian) prefecture recently confirmed to RFA that his station in Hotan city’s Elchi district was ordered last month to complete name changes of Uyghurs aged 16 and younger by June 1, but said that due to technical issues the deadline may be extended to July 1.

The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said “15 names cannot be used, including Arafat,” and that parents should bring both their own and their children’s household registration papers to the police station to make the change.

“We are changing only the names of minors under 16,” he said.

“The ones 16 and above have not been ordered to change yet, due to the difficulty of changing their ID cards and driver’s licenses, so we do not have any directive on changing their names.”

According to the officer, students who have completed primary school must also change the names on their graduation certificates, meaning they must visit both their local police station and education department.

He acknowledged that the name change process is difficult, as many parents have been the target of a crackdown on what Beijing calls religious extremism in Xinjiang, with authorities conducting regular “strike hard” campaigns including police raids on Uyghur households, restrictions on Islamic practices, and curbs on the culture and language of the Uyghur people.

“Basically, the village cadres are assisting the minors to change their names, because some of their parents are either in jail or detention,” he said.

The officer said that many Uyghur parents had given their children “extremist” names when Beijing’s policies in the region were “lenient,” but “at the moment, since they cannot use those names, they are simply changing them.”

“The locals have no objections,” he added.

An official from Hotan prefecture’s Qaraqash (Moyu) county government also told RFA his office had recently received an order to change banned names for Uyghur children.

“There are around seven names and the order specified that the name change should be done for free,” said the official, who also asked to remain unnamed.

“For example, they have to change names like Arafat. My colleague’s son’s name was Arafat and he was made to change it. He is a Xinjiang Medical University student.”

The official did not specify the age of the young man.

A teacher in Hotan city also confirmed the name ban, but said that none of the Uyghur students at her school had “radical” names.

“There are some students named after their grandparents—such as Ayshem, Tohti and Mahmut—and most have more popular names—such as Ilnur and Dilnur—so we didn’t hear much about the name ban here,” she said.

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Judging names

Sources in Hotan had previously detailed to RFA a list of banned names in 2015, but an employee who answered the phone at a police station in the regional capital Urumqi suggested in April that the ban had since been rolled out region-wide.

The employee said at the time that names “with a strong religious flavor, such as Jihad” or those with “connotations of holy war or of splittism [Xinjiang independence]” were no longer allowed.

Other rules on what constituted an “extremist” name seemed arbitrary, at best.

Names of Islamic scholars could be regarded as “promoting terror and evil cults,” Yultuzay—a reference to the star and moon symbol of the Islamic faith—is “pagan,” and Mecca “would be a bit over-the-top,” the employee said, adding that he didn’t think Saddam would be acceptable either.

“Just stick to the party line, and you’ll be fine,” he told RFA.

“[People with banned names] won’t be able to get a household registration, so they will find out from the hukou office when the time comes.”

A second source told RFA at the time that the safest names for Uyghurs are those that are considered more “mainstream” by the Chinese Communist Party, such as Memet.

Invasion of privacy

Dolkun Isa, general secretary of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress exile group, strongly condemned the Chinese government for forcibly changing the names of Uyghur children under the age of 16.

“This demonstrates how far and wide the Chinese government violates the fundamental human rights of the Uyghur people and invades the very privacy of their lives,” he told RFA.

“Clearly, Uyghur parents are being stripped of the right to name their own children.”

Isa noted that in every culture, baby names are carefully selected—often with the input of the extended family—and said Uyghur families should not be denied that right.

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“China should be ashamed of forcing Uyghur parents to change the names of their children under any circumstances,” he said.

While China blames some Uyghurs for “terrorist” attacks, experts outside China say Beijing has exaggerated the threat from the Uyghurs and that repressive domestic policies are responsible for an upsurge in violence there that has left hundreds dead since 2009. (RFE/RL)

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Haryana Police Summons 45 Dera Sacha Sauda Committee Members Accused of Plotting Violence Following Conviction of Dera Chief

Dera Sacha Sauda followers had indulged in large-scale violence in Panchkula and Sirsa after the CBI court on August 25 convicted the sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of rape

Dera Sacha Sauda followers had indulged in large-scale violence in Panchkula and Sirsa after the CBI court on August 25 convicted the sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of rape. IANS

Chandigarh, October 6, 2017 : Haryana police have issued summons to 45 members of a committee of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect to appear before it regarding the violence that erupted following the rape conviction of the Dera chief on August 25, police sources said on Friday.

Police sources said a hard disk, which reportedly contains details of transactions worth Rs 700 crore, including property and hawala deals, of the Dera has been recovered and sent for detailed examination.

The 45-member committee, which included the Dera’s headquarters campus (near Sirsa) chairman Vipassana and vice chairman P.R. Nain, is being accused of planning the violence in Panchkula and other places that left at least 38 people dead and 264 injured.

Dera Sacha Sauda followers had indulged in large-scale violence in Panchkula and Sirsa after the CBI court on August 25 convicted the sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of rape.

The Haryana Police had last month issued a list of 43 ‘Most Wanted’ people of the sect, including top functionaries Honeypreet Insan and Aditya Insan, who are the closest aides of Ram Rahim, for their role in the violence.

Honeypreet was arrested from neighbouring Punjab on Tuesday after being fugitive for 38 days. She was booked for sedition and inciting violence.

The disgraced sect chief, who was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, is now lodged in the District Jail in Sunaria near Rohtak. (IANS)

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Indo-Pak Peace Talks Futile Unless Islamabad Sheds Links with Terrorism, says Study

A Study by a U.S. think tank calls India and Pakistan talks futile, until Pakistan changes its approach.

India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan. Wikimedia.

A Top United States of America (U.S.) think tank, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace called the relations between India and Pakistan futile, unless Islamabad changes its approach and sheds its links with Jihadi terrorism.

A report “Are India and Pakistan Peace Talks Worth a Damn”, authored by Ashley J Tellis stated that such a move supported by foreign countries would be counterproductive and misguided.

The report suggests that International community’s call for the India and Pakistan talks don’t recognize that the tension between the two countries is not actually due to the sharp differences between them, but due to the long rooted ideological, territorial and power-political hatred. The report states that these antagonisms are fueled by Pakistani army’s desire to subvert India’s powerful global position.

Tellis writes that Pakistan’s hatred is driven by its aim to be considered and treated equal to India, despite the vast differences in their achievements and capabilities.

Also ReadMilitant Groups in Pakistan Emerge as Political Parties : Can Violent Extremism and Politics Co-exist? 

New Delhi, however, has kept their stance clear and mentioned that India and Pakistan talks cannot be conducted, until, the latter stops supporting terrorism, and the people conducting destructive activities in India.

The report further suggests that Pakistan sees India as a genuine threat and continuously uses Jihadi terrorism as a source to weaken India. The report extends its support to India’s position and asks other international powers, including the U.S., to extend their support to New Delhi.

Earlier in September, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) slammed Pakistan for its continuous terror activities. She attacked the country by saying that India has produced engineers, doctors, and scholars; Pakistan has produced terrorists.

Sushma Swaraj further said that when India is being recognised in the world for its IT and achievements in the space, Pakistan is producing Terrorist Organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba. She said that Pakistan is the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity.

-by Megha Acharya  of NewsGram. Megha can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya. 

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China pays Tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, Celebrates Gandhi Jayanti in Beijing

Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi

Beijing, Oct 02: China on Monday celebrated the 148th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, with the India Embassy in Beijing releasing commemorative postage stamps on the Ramayana.

Many Chinese nationals offered flowers to a statue of Gandhi at Beijing’s Chaoyang Park, while school children recited his famous quotes in Mandarin on a nippy overcast day.

“Gandhiji looked forward to a day when a free India and a free China could cooperate in friendship and brotherhood for their own good and for the benefit of Asia and the World,” Wilson Babu, Charge D’Affaires at the Indian embassy, said.

“Leaders of our two countries have been striving to build strong India-China relations based on Gandhiji’s ideals of world peace and respect for all human beings.”

In Shanghai, the Indian Consulate organised a series of events including a memorial lecture, screening of a documentary film and a painting completion for children of the Indian community.

Mahatma Gandhi has become increasingly popular in China, with many Chinese researchers studying his ideology of non-violence.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar in Gujarat to Putlibai and Karamchand Gandhi. (IANS)