Grappling to put down militancy in Muslim-majority Xinjiang province, China has punished 15 local officials for violating disciplinary regulations, including "practicing religion", barred by the ruling Communist Party.
The local government of Kashgar, a town bordering Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) where a biggest attack involving dozens of militants took place last month, punished 15 officials for violating disciplinary regulations, including "practicing religion," state-run Global Times reported today.
The punishment of the 15 officials was announced at a government meeting yesterday. More than 800 local officials and heads of primary and high schools attended it.
Xinjiang, home of the native of about 11 million Muslim Uygurs of Turkik origin, was restive over Uygur protests against the Han settlements.
One of the 15 officials was dismissed from his position for violating a rule that officials should not have any religious beliefs, the daily quoted state-run Xinhua News Agency as saying. It said the official had a bad attitude and caused a negative impact.
The discipline of the Communist Party of China (CPC) stipulates that all Party members should be atheists.
Some local government websites in Xinjiang have posted notices during the holy month of Ramadan in July, calling for all CPC and League members, civil servants and students not to take part in fasting and other religious activities.
Another one of the 15 officials was warned and removed from position for illegally appointing religious personnel, while another was expelled from the local public security division for being "politically incorrect" and spreading audio and video containing ethnic discrimination content via WeChat.
The official is also said to have spread harmful information and rumours damaging ethnic unity online, it said.
Another local official received a warning and was removed from his position for holding an "ambiguous" attitude and inefficiently implementing counter-terrorism campaigns. Xinhua did not specify what this anonymous official had done.
Other 11 officials received punishments of warnings or removals for discipline violations like holding illegal publications and wrongly implement government policies.