Activists call for boycott of Chinese products after religious crackdown

Activists are calling for a boycott of Chinese products after authorities reportedly launched a crackdown on Ramadan fasting.

During the Islamic religious month, Muslims traditionally abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset for 30 days.

But a new report from Amnesty International says that Ramadan fasting, along with other signs of religious faith like beards and the avoidance of alcohol, are seen as a "sign of extremism" in China.

It warns that following these religious guidelines can now lead to detainment, especially in the Chinese province of Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur people.

"Any of these can land you in one of Xinjiang's internment camps, which the government calls 'transformation-through-education centres'", the report says.

US officials say China has put more than a million Muslims in "concentration camps" in Xinjiang, in an attempt to forcibly convert and assimilate the local population. Uighur activists say the crackdown has gotten worse in recent years.

"In 2014 the ban intensified," Alip Erkin told ABC News.

"They began gathering people in their workplaces and schools and served them lunch to make sure they do not fast."

In response, activists from around the world are urging people to choose alternatives to Chinese-made products.

"China is the only place in the world where Muslims are not allowed to fast. Uighurs and other Muslims have been forbidden from fasting for the last three years," says a post on the Save Uighur website.

"We are calling upon people who care for freedom of religion to not buy any Chinese products during the month of Ramadan.

"Ramadan is about consuming less and sharing more. So let's fast from China in solidarity with those who cannot fast in China."

Chinese authorities have previously said they do not block religious practices in the province.

In 2016, China's State Council published a document titled Freedom of Religious Belief in Xinjiang, which stated that "citizens' religious feelings and needs are fully respected".

The Chinese Government describes the camps as "education programmes" providing teaching and training to citizens.