July 17, 2015

"When reports of Chinese restrictions on religious observance and fasting during Ramadan sparked international protests earlier this month, Beijing was quick to condemn the criticism, denying that any such curbs existed."

Wall Street Journal Now, China’s state media is going one step further, flooding the Internet with photos and videos of Muslims observing the holy month throughout the country. by Felicia Sonmez

'Since the eruption of anti-Chinese protests in Istanbul two weeks ago, the English-language Twitter and Facebook accounts of China’s state-run media—including the official Xinhua news agency, the China Daily newspaper, state broadcaster CCTV and the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily—have issued a steady stream of content related to Ramadan observance in China.

'The sustained media campaign is a departure from past years, when China’s response to reports on Ramadan restrictions was largely left to foreign ministry officials in Beijing. It is also the latest sign of the ruling Communist Party’s stepped-up efforts to better craft China’s image abroad, in part through the expansion of state-run media—a pursuit that has thus far produced mixed results.

'Demonstrators in Turkey took to the streets earlier this month in at times violent protests following reports that Chinese authorities had restricted fasting among Uighurs, a mainly Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic minority based in China’s far-western Xinjiang region. As in past years, the reports detailed notices on state media and government websites calling for party cadres, students, teachers and government workers to refrain from observing Ramadan. They also detailed new efforts such as a state-sponsored beer festival in a heavily-Muslim area.'

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