Scrolling news:

China seals 3 mosques in southern province

2nd Jan 2019
China seals 3 mosques in southern province

By Fuat Kabakci

 

BEIJING (AA): Chinese authorities have shut down three mosques in Weishan town of the country’s southern Yunnan province on December 29, media reported.

The mosques belonging to Hui Muslims were shut for what the authorities said “illegal religious education,” the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based daily, said in a report.

A video shared by the daily on its website shows dozens of uniformed police officers confronting Hui Muslim worshippers, who were trying to prevent the closure of a mosque.

It is not known whether the security forces detained any of them.

The footage also showed that a door of mosque was chained and sealed. No details were shared about the name of the mosque.

According to China’s People’s Daily, a Weishan local government’s official statement said the police in coordination with the Weishan County Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee carried out a raid in the villages of Huihuideng, Sanjia and Mamichang to “protect harmony and stability in the religious domain.”

Weishan County Propaganda Bureau would not say if anyone was held, only that police had taken the necessary measures against what authorities called “illegal worship”.

Officers at Weishan County Public Security Bureau and Weishan Yongjian police station refused to discuss arrests or if mosques were earmarked for demolition, but said there would be a statement on the matter.

The closure of mosques in Weishan followed a series of crackdowns and harassment against Muslims which has involved the closures of mosques and Arabic-language schools in Ningxia and Gansu – both Hui Muslim heartlands in the north of China – after President Xi Jinping’s call to “Sinicise religion” and bring it under the authority of the Communist Party.

Police action in the villages of Huihuideng, Sanjia and Mamichang was coordinated by the Weishan County Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee to “protect harmony and stability in the religious domain”, the official notice said.

Video footage of Saturday’s police raids appeared on Twitter. A clip shared by the NGO Documenting Oppression Against Muslims shows dozens of uniformed police officers confronting Hui Muslim worshippers, dragging them from a mosque entrance. Police officers were shown shoving and, in some cases, attacking protesters.

“Five or six police officers held me down on the floor and I was beaten until I lost consciousness,” one female worshipper’s WeChat message shared on Twitter said.

“My arms are weak now. If my mother hadn’t saved me, I would have been taken away by police. My mother was then taken away. I’m scared she was beaten by them.”

Over the summer, Chinese authorities were forced to delay the demolition of the newly built Weizhou Grand Mosque in Ningxia Hui autonomous region after hundreds of Hui Muslims turned out to protest.

It is estimated that 700,000 Chinese Hui Muslims live in Yunnan province.

Muslims comprise 10 of around 56 ethnic minorities in China. The Muslim ethnic groups — Hui, Uyghurs, Kyrgyzs, Kazakhs, Tajiks, Tatars, Uzbeks, Salars, Bao’ans, and Dongshiangs — mostly live in northern and northwestern China.

Additional report from South China Morning Post

[Map of China. By ASDFGH/Public Domain/Free Use]

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