Muslims in Xinjiang up to age 16 must change ‘overly religious’ names - SupChina

Muslims in Xinjiang up to age 16 must change ‘overly religious’ names

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A ban on “overly religious” baby names in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region that SupChina noted on April 25 has now been extended to all children up to age 16, the Guardian reports. Names outlawed include Islam, Quran, Mecca, Jihad, Imam, Saddam, Hajj, Medina, and Arafat — children with such names will have to change them before they receive their national identification cards at age 16.

For more on the politics of religious names among Xinjiang’s Uyghurs and a complete list of banned names, see this piece by the anthropology researcher Darren Byler in the Milestones journal.

The Guardian says that the new name ban “coincided with millions gathering at 50,000 individual rallies across Xinjiang this week.” State media reported that “more than a quarter of the region’s population sang the national anthem at 9am on May 29 and pledged allegiance to the Communist Party.” Last month, SupChina noted reports that Xinjiang authorities purchased $8.7 million in DNA-testing equipment for a large-scale collection, far more than any other region in the country.

Lucas Niewenhuis

Lucas Niewenhuis is an associate editor at SupChina who helps curate daily news and produce the company's newsletter, app, and website content. Previously, Lucas researched China-Africa relations at the Social Science Research Council and interned at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He has studied Chinese language and culture in Shanghai and Beijing, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.