November 24, 2016

East Turkestan: China Tightens Control Over Uyghur Religious Activities

Photo Courtsey of UHRP

The Communist Party has decreed that Uyghurs will now be required to report to the local authorities any religious activities they perform. While the Chinese government falsely claims that this measure is intended to help curb “religious extremism”, it is but part of a large-scale strategy of state-sponsored suppression of religious freedom in East Turkestan. For instance, this measure must be seen in the context of increased monitoring of mosques since late last month and it is, as pointed out by Turghunjan Alawudun of the World Uighur Congress, designed solely to “exploit religion for socialism”.

Below is an article published by UHRP

China has made it a requirement for residents of Xinjiang to "report" on any religious activities in the largely Muslim province where the beleaguered Uighurs live, Global Times reported today.

Uighur dissidents and other rights activists have long said that the Chinese government's policies in the Uighur region are against the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To be sure, the state-run Global Times said this "reporting" on religious activities is aimed at "assisting with the residents' religious practices".

In fact, Radio Free Asia reported late last month that Beijing has sent more than 350 officials to the Heitan prefecture in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region for a three-year stint "monitoring mosques". A Communist Party school professor is quoted by Global Times as saying "reporting" on religious activities is to help local governments offer better "services to religious activities."

"Xinjiang has established religious committees and residential communities to manage religious practices since September [2016], requiring local residents to report their religious activities or activities attended by religious people, including circumcision, weddings and funerals", La Disheng, a professor at the Party School of the Communist Party, told the Global Times yesterday. 

The state-run paper then cites a domestic government document as saying that "religious extremism has been spreading in Xinjiang in recent years, which has turned some people into extremists or terrorists involved in a series of deadly terror attacks."

Radio Free Asia last month cited a report by the Heitan government's local TV station which announced that the district recently launched a policy called "staying in villages to monitor mosques". It's under this policy that 352 Chinese cadres were assigned to keep an eye on the mosques and the people's religious activities.

"The Hotan (Heitan) prefecture party boss's current policy to monitor religious activities in the villages is part of the Chinese Communist Party's directive to exploit religion for socialism," said Turghunjan Alawudun of the World Uyghur Congress to Radio Free Asia.

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