Statements were posted on the websites of schools, government agencies and local party organisations in the Xinjiang region, warning the ban was in place to protect the well-being of students and prevent the promotion of religion, the Associated Press reports.
The move comes amid tightened security in the region, which has been hit by a growing number of violent attacks.
Via the AP:
Violence has escalated in recent years in Xinjiang. The ruling party blames violent extremists that it says want independence, while members of the region’s Uighur ethnic group complain that discrimination and restrictions on religion, such as a ban on taking children to mosques, are fueling anger at the ethnic Han Chinese majority.
After the recent violence, the government instituted a crackdown on the city, arresting over 380 people in one month. As the AP reports, the central government has fears of religious activity, worrying that it “might serve as a rallying point for opposition to one-party rule.”
The bans are allegedly intended to keep religion out of education and civil society, though that same standard is reportedly not held for those who are children of Han Chinese.
In the city of Bole, retired teachers from the Wutubulage Middle School were called in to stand guard at mosques and prevent students from entering, according to a statement on the municipal party committee website.
Also in Bole, the Bozhou University of Radio and Television said on its website it held a meeting with working and retired minority teachers on the first day of the Ramadan to remind them of the fasting ban.
Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman in Germany for World Uyghur Congress, told the AP that the central government is testing Muslims to see if they are actually fasting despite the ban.
On Tuesday, authorities in some communities in Xinjiang held celebrations of the anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party and served food to test whether Muslim guests were fasting.