‘They really want to eliminate religion’: China is tightening grip on Islam

‘They really want to eliminate religion’: China is tightening grip on Islam

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In a cold dusty part of central China, a local Muslim leader stands alone in the courtyard of a small mosque. 

It feels eerily quiet. 

We both know we shouldn’t stay too long. If the police realise foreign journalists are here, it will bring trouble for him – and for us. He is careful about what he says. Everyone here is. But there is a subtle reality at play that he wants to communicate.

“The religion was living and now, it’s like it’s dying,” he says.

What he’s describing is, in part, the impact of an express policy in Xi Jinping’s China – one that aims to “Sinicize” religion, to reduce its influence and make it more “Chinese”.

WHO ARE THE HUI?

When you talk about Chinese Muslims, most people initially think about the Uyghur minority who predominantly live in far western Xinjiang province. 

That group, from Turkic origins, have been in the headlines due to their mass arrest and incarceration in a series of camps that China contends are actually “vocational education and training” centres.

But they are not China’s only Muslim minority.

The Hui is actually China’s largest Muslim group, with a population of more than 11 million across the country, according to the 2020 census. 

Although they are officially designated as an ethnic category, they speak Chinese, and their communities are spread across the country – leading experts to describe them as China’s “most assimilated” Muslim group.

Source: SkyNews

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