Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

China’s Urumqi Takes Aim at ‘Extremist’ Religious Practices

Beijing denies it is systematically violating rights of Xinjiang’s Muslims Beijing denies it is systematically violating rights of Xinjiang’s Muslims
Jeannette Daniel | 11 October, 2018, 09:24

In the wake of reports that up to 1 million Uighurs and other Muslims are being detained in secretive "re-education camps" in the far-western region of Xinjiang, China has made some significant additions to its anti-extremism regulations, apparently aimed at giving the camps a basis under the law.

Chinese authorities deny that the internment camps exist but say petty criminals are sent to vocational "training centres".

China's anti-extremism law first went into effect last April. It bans a wide range of acts deemed manifestations of extremism, including wearing veils or "abnormal" beards, refusing to watch state television or listen to state radio, and preventing children from receiving national education. China has come under increasing pressure from the U.S. and the European Union after a United Nations panel confronted Chinese diplomats in August over reports of arbitrary mass detentions and harsh security measures aimed at Muslims.

A new clause directs the centres to teach the Mandarin language and provide occupational and legal education, as well as "ideological education, psychological rehabilitation and behaviour correction".

Members of Uighur, Kazakh and other Muslim minorities who live overseas say they have not been able to contact relatives in China, while authorities are placing children separated from their detained or exiled parents into dozens of state-run orphanages across Xinjiang. Unrest between Uighurs and members of the ethnic Han Chinese majority has seen hundreds killed in recent years.

More news: Kylie Jenner confirms another lip job

Urumqi, capital of the largely Muslim Chinese region of Xinjiang, will crack down on activities that blur the boundary between religion and secular life and encourage "extremism", the local government said.

In a meeting on Monday, the Communist Party leaders of Urumqi city led cadres to swear an oath to "fight a decisive battle against "pan-halalisation", according to a notice posed on the city's official WeChat account.

The official Global Times said that the "demand that things be halal which can not really be halal" was fuelling hostility towards religion, and allowing Islam to penetrate secular life.

Chinese citizens are theoretically free to practice any religion, but they have been subject to increasing levels of surveillance as the government tries to bring religious worship under stricter state control.

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