(An ethnic Uighur man checks a mirror after getting his beard shaved by a barber (R) on a street in Aksu, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region July 21, 2013. REUTERS/William Hong )

China’s far-flung western region of Xinjiang is demanding that lawyers guarantee family members don’t wear burqas or grow long beards, the latest government move critics say unfairly targets the region’s Muslim Uighur ethnic community.

Lawyers in Turpan, an oasis city southeast of the regional capital, Urumqi, have to sign a pledge denouncing extremism and participation in “illegal religious activities”, the Xinjiang judicial affairs department website said on Tuesday.

“Lawyers must commit to guaranteeing that family members and relatives do not wear burqas, veils or participate in illegal religious activities, and that young men do not grow long beards,” the statement said.

While many Uighur women dress in much the same casual fashions as other women in China, others have begun to wear full veils, something more common in Pakistan or Afghanistan than traditionally in Xinjiang.