The People's Republic of China has the world's highest population per nation of 1.425 billion people as of Wednesday, November 22, 2023. The population practices many major religions, among which is Islam which falls among the minority group in the country. About 1 to 1.5% of the population of China amounting to about 20 million Chinese are said to be Muslims. However, the administration of President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping has commenced activities to phase out religious believers in the country and make citizens and residents of the country “Patriotic” and traditionally “atheist” as the nation was known.
From about 32 provinces, major cities, and autonomous regions in the People's Republic of China, the Islamic religion is predominant only among the Huis and Uyghurs-dominated areas. The most recent activities of the administration of President Xi Jinping testify to a perception that the Chinese government is aiming towards eradicating religions from the country, and four means are being deployed to end the practice of Islam in the country. It is important to note that the act of the Chinese government towards the practice of Islamic religion is being examined in this article, the outlined methodologies by the Chinese Authorities are also being implemented to threaten the existence of other religions in the country, including Buddhism, Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism versions), Taoism and other non-traditional religions in the state.
Chinese Ways of Eradicating Islamic Religion in the Country
In 2018, the administration of President Xi Jinping supported by his Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee formulated “Sinicisation” policies that aimed at ending religious practices in China, and rigidly targeted Islam in its publication in which it was emphasized that The Construction, layout, and funding of mosques must be strictly monitored. This publication of Sinicisation policies is the first attempt by the Chinese authorities to eject the Islamic religion from the country.
Knowing fully well that Hui Muslims densely reside in Ningxia and the Uyghurs reside in Xinjiang, the implementation of Sinicisation policies by the Authorities of the Chinese government has been intense and merciless in these areas, and other areas including Qinghai, and Gansu.
In the past, Islamic communities received financial help from the state authorities but this has been stopped since the policies were formed in 2018, and the state authorities have deployed other means to sabotage foreign grants for the country’s Muslims.
Frustration of Muslim Communities
The leader of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping has gone far in forcefully winning the earth of the people towards the belief of his political party and Chinese traditional culture. To entrench this, the state authorities have embarked on relocation and combination of residents from the Muslim populated areas to other people with non-Islamic beliefs and no provision to encourage Islamic religious practices.
Unfortunately, the authorities destroy Mosques and remove public protective structures like domes and minarets from mosques after Muslims are relocated away from the region of the mosque.
For instance, since 2017 about two-thirds of the Mosques in Xinjiang have been damaged or destroyed by the administration of Xi Jinping, according to a report by Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
Age Limitation to Religious Practice
Muslims across the world believe firmly in getting their wards involved in the ways of practicing the religion from a young age till they take their last breath on earth. This culture has helped the religion in ensuring a profound understanding of its ethics by the practitioners. To avert this, the Chinese government in 2018 prohibited minors under 16 from participating in religious activities or studying in Linxia, a Chinese city that was previously known as China’s ”Little Mecca”.
Conversion of Mosques
After the people are forcefully relocated from their region where mosques are built and combined in a strange land with no mosques and right to build mosques, Chinese authorities convert the mosques to “Workspaces” or “cultural centers”. In some cases, in some sections of the mosques, the ablution section is converted while in many cases the entire building of the mosque is converted.
For instance, Hannah Theaker, a scholar on Chinese Muslims told the BBC that between 2020 to date, about 1,300 mosques have been reportedly shut down or converted by the Chinese authorities in Ningxia.
Many Chinese Muslims and Christians who have had their pastors arrested and Bibles banned from being sold, have condemned Chinese authorities under President Xi Jinping for using “Sinicisation” policies to frustrate religious beliefs and blend them to reflect Chinese culture and society, going against people’s right to Freedom of Association with the government’s misunderstanding of religious beliefs as an act of practicing “foreign culture and societies”.
Tag: Xi Jinping Muslims Islam Chinese religion
Written by Omooba Alekuwodo (omoobaalekuwodo)
Published 11/22/2023 3:17:50 PM