China is reportedly ordering businesses in a village in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang region to sell alcohol and cigarettes or face being shut down, according to Radio Free Asia.
An April 29 directive instructed restaurant and shop owners in Aktash, a predominantly Muslim Uighur village, to promote the goods in “eye-catching displays,” RFA reported. It's considered a sin to consume alcohol under Islam.
“All restaurants and supermarkets in our village should place five different brands of alcohol and cigarettes in their shops before [May 1, 2015],” local authorities announced, according to the report. “Anybody who neglects this notice and fails to act will see their shops sealed off, their business suspended, and legal action pursued against them.”
The announcement was signed by the Aktash village Party Committee of Laskuy Township, which stated that the goal of the initiative was to increase “convenience” to the public.
But Aktash village party committee secretary Adil Sulayman told RFA that the policy aimed “to weaken religion here.”
China has faced terrorist attacks believed to have been carried out by Uighur militants, including knife attacks and vehicular assaults on pedestrians.
The Washington Post noted that China has blamed foreign Muslim groups for inspiring Chinese Muslims via social media postings to wage jihad.
Last year, Chinese authorities removed dozens of children from Muslim madrassas in Xinjiang – the same province of last week’s reported alcohol sale announcement.