Xinjiang Introduces Restrictions To Combat 'Extremism'

China's far western region of Xinjiang has introduced a range of restrictions as part of what it describes as a campaign against religious extremism.

The regulations were passed by Xinjiang lawmakers this week and came into effect on April 1.

They include prohibiting "abnormally" long beards, the wearing of robes that cover the whole body and face, and refusing to watch or listen to government propaganda on radio or television, according to the text of measures published on a government website.

Authorities in Xinjiang have issued a series of measures in the past years to tackle what they see as a rise in Islamist extremism.

The region is the homeland of the Turkic-speaking and mainly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group.

The area has been hit by deadly unrest in recent years. Beijing blames the violence on Islamist militants and separatists, but rights groups say the unrest is a reaction to repressive Chinese policies.

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, and the BBC