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China Concerned Over Turkish Religious Complaints

FILE - Uighurs living in Turkey carry a blue flag with a white star and a crescent representing Eastern Turkistan in Ankara, Turkey, July 5, 2012.

China is expressing its displeasure with Turkey's complaints about restrictions on worship and fasting by minority Chinese Uighur Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Wednesday that Beijing had expressed its concerns to Turkey's government. She says Beijing demanded that Ankara clarify the matter.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said Turkey's concerns about the restrictions were relayed to the Chinese ambassador.

Uighurs complain that the officially atheistic ruling Communist Party forbids fasting by party members, civil servants, teachers and students during Ramadan. Children are also banned from attending mosques, women from wearing veils and young men from growing beards.

Turkey has close cultural, religious and ethnic ties to the Uighurs but is also keen to maintain good relations with China.

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