A security guard keeps watch at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, December 10, 2015.

Chinese officials who are also Communist Party officials are banned from religious activities even when they have retired, and must also oppose what the government terms cults, state media said on Friday.

China is once again gripped by fear in a way it has not been since the era of Mao Zedong.

Armed police stand guard in the popular shopping and nightlife area of Sanlitun in Beijing. Photo: AFP

China has tightened anti-terrorism surveillance at major cities across the nation as the mass movement of mainlanders travelling home for the Lunar New Year holiday puts extra pressure on security guards keeping watch for potential attacks.

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The Uyghur American Association (UAA) organized a demonstration in front of China's embassy in Washington, DC on February 5, 2014 to commemorate the 17th anniversary of the Ghulja Massacre. At the event, the Uyghur Human Rights Project conducted an interview with Ilyar Shamseden, originally of Ghulja, about the history of the massacre.