Islamist militants in China’s restive far western region of Xinjiang were trying to ban laughter at weddings and crying at funerals, the governor of Xinjiang wrote yesterday as he appealed to people to stamp out the “tumour” of extremism.

Writing in the official Xinjiang Daily, Nur Bekri said acts of terror had been made possible by extremists taking advantage of people’s faith.

Xinjiang has been beset by violence for years, which is blamed by the government on Islamist militants and separatists. Exiles and many rights groups say the real cause of the unrest is China’s heavy-handed policies, including curbs on Islam and the culture and language of the Muslim Uighur people who call Xinjiang home.

– Reuters