A 38-year-old man from China’s mainly Muslim Xinjiang region has been sent to prison for six years for growing a beard and “provoking trouble”.
According to the South China Morning Post – quoting the Chinese language China Youth Daily – the Uigur man started growing his beard in 2010. About a year ago, Xinjiang officials began targeting men with beards for their alleged association with extremist activities.
Cash rewards have been reportedly offered to informants who report neighbours with excessive facial hair.
The man and his wife, from the desert oasis city of Kashgar, had been given several warnings for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” – a vague term regularly used in the Chinese judicial system.
His wife received a two-year sentence for wearing a burqa and a veil that hid her face. Regional officials have launched a campaign called “Project Beauty” which “encourages” women to leave their heads bare.
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