Radio Free Asia, a U.S. government-funded media organization, reports that “authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang have banned dozens of baby names with religious meanings that are widely used by Muslims elsewhere in the world,” including “Islam, Quran, Mecca, Jihad, Imam, Saddam, Hajj, and Medina.” The local government of Hotan, an oasis town in southern Xinjiang, had reportedly issued a list of banned names in 2015, but the ban apparently now applies to all of Xinjiang. Radio Free Asia called a police station in the regional capital of Urumqi, where the person who answered the phone confirmed that “overly religious” names are banned, and that “the most important thing here is the connotations of the name … [it mustn’t have] connotations of holy war or of splittism [Xinjiang independence].”
The name bans are part of a set of new rules issued by the Xinjiang government intended to counter religious extremism. SupChina could not locate a copy of the rules online, aside from a screenshot of them (in Chinese) circulating on Weibo. In this document, no specific names are mentioned — the rules simply prohibit “choosing names that smack of religious extremism” (起名渲染宗教狂热的 qǐmíng xuànrǎn zōngjiào kuángrè de). Therefore, the Radio Free Asia report’s list of prohibited names seems to be taken from the interview with the police station rather than from the rules themselves.
- China’s middle class suffers from insomnia, rarely has sex, and is very worried about its future / Quartz
“Top concerns regarding social issues include inflation, food safety, the government’s stricter restrictions on property purchases, and the notorious pollution plaguing many Chinese cities.”
- Oops! Chinese defense ministry’s PLA poster a big Photoshop fail / SCMP
A poster meant to commemorate the 68th anniversary of China’s navy had the Liaoning aircraft carrier awkwardly photoshopped next to Russian fighter jets and U.S. ships.
- Beijing enlists dancing grannies to deter jaywalkers / Sixth Tone
- Little-known [soccer player] Brazilian Fernandinho attempts to bridge cultural gap while playing in China / SCMP
- Italian police go on patrol at the Great Wall of China / Shanghaiist