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Chinese Authorities Ban 'Muslim' Names For Babies

A Uyghur woman holds her baby at a night market in Hotan, in China's western Xinjiang region.

Chinese authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang have banned dozens of baby names with religious meanings that are traditionally used by Muslims.

Speaking to Radio Free Asia on April 25, an official in Xinjiang confirmed Western media reports, saying that such names as Islam, Quran, Mecca, Jihad, Imam, Saddam, Hajj, and Medina were among dozens of baby names banned under the Chinese Communist Party's recently introduced Naming Rules For Ethnic Minorities.

The official at a police station in the regional capital, Urumqi, said any babies registered with such names would be barred from the state registration system that gives access to health care and education.

The regulation affects the region's mostly Muslim indigenous ethnic groups, including at least 10 million Uyghurs, at least 1.5 million Kazakhs, 150,000 Kyrgyz, 5,000 Tatars, 4,000 Tajiks and some 1,000 Dungans.

Uyghurs have long complained about their treatment under Chinese rule.

China's ruling Communist Party tightly controls access to the restive region, and information is difficult to verify independently.

Based on reporting by Radio Free Asia, The Guardian, and The Telegraph