Government in Western China says any Muslims who think alcohol, cigarettes, or dancing are “haram” (forbidden) need to turn themselves in.
By Shaquile Goff
The government of the western Chinese province of Xinjiang has issued a statement saying “All individuals involved in terrorist crimes and poisoned by the ‘three evil forces’ are urged to surrender themselves to the judicial organs within 30 days and to confess and hand over the facts of your crime,” according to Al Jazeera.
The government has promised leniency to Muslims that voluntarily comply and turn themselves in. Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government has begun a nationwide persecution of the country’s Muslim population, especially targeting the Uighur ethnicity that mostly live in Xinjiang province.
In a report that the UN submitted, over a million Uighurs are currently detained in what the government calls “re-education camps.” The Chinese government has defended the use of camps in state-run media interviews by stating that the prisoners are also able to take occupational classes on topics such as hairdressing or commerce.
Read also: BBC: China Is Expanding Camps for Uighurs
However, the Xinjiang government also issued bans on certain Islamic clothing, long beards, and some religious names. The government calls it an attempt to de-extremify the province, for fear of the spread of Islamist and separatist groups in the province.
The increased repression of religion in China is receiving condemnation from the international community.
In 2018, a report from the Humans Rights Watch stated, “The government restricts religious practice to five officially recognized religions in officially approved religious premises, and the Chinese government retain control over religious bodies’ personnel appointments, publications, finances, and seminary applications.”
China is also allegedly trying to control the Uighur population abroad, mostly with threats to family and informants in Uighur populations throughout Western Europe, according to the Independent. The government appears to be breaking up the Uighurs by placing mistrust into the community.