China’s Urumqi takes aim at ‘extremist’ religious practices

A Uighur man looks on as a truck carrying paramilitary policemen travel along a street during an anti-terrorism oath-taking rally in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China. (REUTERS/File Photo)
Updated 10 October 2018
0

China’s Urumqi takes aim at ‘extremist’ religious practices

  • Urumqi is currently taking action against the so-called “pan-Halal tendency”
  • Demands by Chinese Muslims that "things be halal" had been fueling hostility among other locals

SHANGHAI, Oct 10 : Urumqi, capital of the largely Muslim Chinese region of Xinjiang, will crack down on activities that blur the boundary between religion and secular life and encourage “extremism,” the local government said.
During a meeting on Monday, local Communist leaders said they would also require government officials and party members to firmly believe in Marxism-Leninism and speak standard Mandarin Chinese in public, according to a notice posted on the official Wechat account of the Urumqi procuratorate.
China has been subject to heavy criticism from rights groups and foreign governments amid reports of a punitive crackdown that has seen the detention of as many as 1 million mostly Muslim ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang.
But Beijing has denied accusations that it is systematically violating the rights of Xinjiang’s Muslims, saying it is only cracking down on extremism and “splittism” in the region.
Urumqi is currently taking action against the so-called “pan-Halal tendency,” a name given to the demands by Muslims that products such as milk or toothpaste comply with Islamic rituals.
The official Global Times said on Wednesday that the “demand that things be halal which cannot really be halal” were fueling hostility toward religion and allowing Islam to penetrate secular life.
Chinese citizens are theoretically free to practice any religion, but they have been subject to increasing levels of surveillance as the government tries to bring religious worship under stricter state control.
Beijing has repeatedly cracked down on unauthorized religious activity, and last month issued new draft guidelines to crack down on the illegal online dissemination of religious information.


One third of UN workers say sexually harassed in past two years

Updated 23 min 37 sec ago
0

One third of UN workers say sexually harassed in past two years

  • The online survey was completed by 30,364 people from the United Nations and its agencies
  • More than half of those experienced sexual harassment said it happened in an office environment

UNITED NATIONS: One third of UN staff and contractors experienced sexual harassment in the past two years, according to a report released by the United Nations on Tuesday.
The online survey, carried out by Deloitte in November, was completed by 30,364 people from the United Nations and its agencies — just 17 percent of those eligible. In a letter to staff, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the response rate as “moderately low.”
“This tells me two things: first — that we still have a long way to go before we are able to fully and openly discuss sexual harassment; and second — that there may also be an ongoing sense of mistrust, perceptions of inaction and lack of accountability,” he wrote.
The survey comes amid the wider “Me Too” movement around the world against sexual harassment and assault.
According to the report, 21.7 percent of respondents said they were subjected to sexual stories or offensive jokes, 14.2 percent received offensive remarks about their appearance, body or sexual activities and 13 percent were targeted by unwelcome attempts to draw them into a discussion on sexual matters.
Some 10.9 percent said they were subjected to gestures or use of body language of a sexual nature, which embarrassed or offended them, and 10.1 percent were touched in way that made them feel uncomfortable.
More than half of those experienced sexual harassment said it happened in an office environment, while 17.1 percent said it happened at a work-related social event. Two out of three harassers were male, according to the survey.
Only one in three people said they took action after experiencing sexual harassment.
Guterres said the report contained “some sobering statistics and evidence of what needs to change to make a harassment-free workplace real for all of us.”
“As an organization founded on equality, dignity and human rights, we must lead by example and set the standard,” he said.
The United Nations has tried to increase transparency and strengthen how it deals with such accusations over the past few years after a string of sexual exploitation and abuse accusations against UN peacekeepers in Africa.
The head of the UN agency for HIV and AIDS is also stepping down in June, six months before his term ends, after an independent panel said that his “defective leadership” tolerated “a culture of harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying, and abuse of power.”