URUMQI, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Millions of Muslims across China began observing Ramadan on Monday, which lasts from June 6 to July 6 this year.
During the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual reflection, Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink between sunrise and dusk. It is widely observed by ethnic minorities in China, including the Hui, Uygur, Kazakh, Uzbek, Tajik and Kyrgyz.
Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, with some 24,000 mosques, is home to more than 13 million Muslims. Senior leaders of the Xinjiang regional government visited teachers and students at Xinjiang Islamic Institute on Sunday.
Zhang Chunxian, secretary of the regional committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), extended greetings to Muslims of different ethnic groups.
China has about 20 million Muslims. Ramadan is also observed in other autonomous regions, provinces and cities including Gansu, Ningxia and Beijing.
"Muslims here fast and attend religious services just as usual," said Zhang Heng, an imam in Lanzhou City, capital of Gansu Province.
Xiao Yuchun of the Gansu Provincial Religious Affairs Bureau said the freedom to fast in the province is fully guaranteed, adding the bureau also sends officials to visit religious personnel and believers during Ramadan.