Officials in in China's restive Xinjiang region have decided to reward informants who offer credible information about people with high amount of facial hair.
Authorities are willing to offer cash rewards to people who are willing to slip names of neighbors with a lot of facial hair. Chinese officials firmly believe that people with a large quantity of facial hair belong to the Muslim community.
Officials in Shaya County actually issued a notice offering rewards ranging from 50 to more than 50,000 Yuan ($8 to $8,000) for a wide array of information including tips on those growing beards, reportedThe Telegraph. The Xinjiang region has lately become a ethnically volatile area with regular clashes being witnessed. Periodic deadly clashes between authorities and members of the mainly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority have left many law officers injured.
Members of the Muslim Uighur ethnic minority are known and often recognized by their characteristic long beards. Moreover, Chinese authorities firmly believe that such ethnic groups belong to some faction of terrorist organizations.
China is openly blaming the violence on separatists with ties to foreign terrorist groups. However, the opposition and rights groups say authorities are greatly exaggerating the threat to justify the ulterior agenda of establishing stricter control and regulation on Uighurs. The rights group strongly believes that religious and cultural restrictions may soon start being enforced once identification begins.
The rewards even cover information offered about "conducting illegal religious activities." However, the authorities chose to remain mum about saying exactly what religious activities were deemed illegal. If this isn't enough even the local Xinjiang authorities have launched a campaign labeled as 'Project Beauty'. The campaign discourages locals (women) from wearing any kind of head covering or veils, which is a very common practice among Uighur women.
The ethnically inspired action was spurred from a car crash which took place in the Beijing's Tiananmen Square, which killed two foreign tourists. The three people, believed to be in the vehicle that was intentionally driven into the busy square thronged with people, allegedly belonged to the Uighur Muslim minority. The incident apparently pushed President Xi Jinping to call for a stricter "security push", reported Herald Live.
The local law enforcement authorities have also accused ethnic minorities in Xinjiang of carrying out a stabbing spree in March in the southwestern city of Kunming that left more than 30 people dead.
The information about excessive facial hair is hoped will offer better knowhow about possible hideouts of sleeper cells and help establish better control. But won't such tactics come across as racist?
[Image Via Bing]