Efforts by the Chinese Government to ban head scarves in Hotan and other parts of the Xinjiang region has pushed some women to don them in defiance.
The veil has now become “a passive form of resistance, signifying your opposition to government restrictions on religion,” said Michael Clarke, an expert on Xinjiang at the Griffith Asia Institute.
“What is new is the intensity with which authorities are attempting to restrict it,” he said. “The concern is that China’s creating a situation that could lead to more radicalization.”
Journalist Jeremy Page interviewed Dr Clarke alongside other China experts for an article published last week in The Wall Street Journal.