China has banned wearing veils as part of a major crackdown on what it sees as religious extremism in the western province of Xinjiang. The measure, which comes into effect Saturday, also bans “abnormal” beards and names, as well as other “extremist signs.” Forcing others to wear veils is also forbidden. Xinjiang, China’s westernmost region, is home to the Uighurs, a Muslim group which claims to face discrimination from the Han Chinese.

It is unclear what other forms of dress, if any, are outlawed under the legislation which was passed by the Xinjiang People’s Congress last week. The policy is seen to discriminate against Muslims. The definition of veil was vague but it appeared the niqab, which covers the face, and burka, which covers the face and body, would be included under the ban. It was unclear if the hijab, scarves which cover the head, are forbidden. READ MORE