Chinese authorities have blocked “Islamophobic terms” on the internet and social media, state-run Global Times reported on Thursday. Insulting words invented by Chinese internet users to stigmatise Muslims no longer threw search results on China’s Weibo microblogging service on Wednesday.

Posts with such phrases cannot be posted because of “violations of Weibo’s complaints related rules”, the newspaper said.

This comes amid “a backlash against national policies some deem overly favourable to Muslim minorities”.

“It’s necessary to timely remove radical phrases that discriminate against Islam and are biased against Muslims to prevent worsening online hatred towards the group,” Xiong Kunxin, a professor at Beijing’s Minzu University of China in Beijing, said. “Those phrases severely undermine religious harmony and ethnic unity.”

The Xinjiang region is home to more than 10 million members of the Uyghur Muslim minority group, where there are often clashes between the Uyghurs and state security forces.