HRW human rights activists accused China of closing and destroying mosques



The human rights organization Human Rights Watch stated that the Chinese authorities are systematically closing and destroying mosques in the northern part of the country. This is part of the policy of “Chineseization” of regions where representatives of different ethnic and religious groups live.

According to HRW, in the provinces of Ningxia-Hui and Hansu, many mosques have been closed, destroyed or transferred to various authorities for secular use in recent years. The director of the Chinese department of HRW, Maya Wong, called it a violation of freedom of religion and part of the systemic oppression of Islam in the country.

The course for the “Chineseization” of multi-ethnic regions was announced by the head of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping, in 2016. In 2018, the CPC adopted a resolution on the “consolidation” of mosques. It states that the number of prayer houses should be reduced, and new ones should not be built.

HRW points out that since the adoption of the resolution in the Xinjiang Uyghur region, where the number of Muslims is the highest, two thirds of all mosques have been closed or destroyed, in Ningxia Hui – no less than a third. The authorities remove the domes and minarets from the mosques that are still open, close the ablution rooms necessary for prayer, and remove the pulpits for preachers. Video surveillance cameras are also installed in them. This, according to human rights defenders, makes it possible to track down among the congregation those who are prohibited from visiting mosques: members of the CCP and minors.

About 20 million Muslims live in China.

  • Human rights organizations have repeatedly accused China of oppressing national and religious minorities, primarily Uyghurs and Kazakhs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Muslims are arrested and kept in closed “re-education camps”. Among the 47 official reasons for being clified as extremists are wearing a hijab or a beard; teaching or learning Turkish or Arabic; purchase of dumbbells or tourist tents; conducting weddings without alcohol; concluding a marriage according to the Islamic rite, and many other things.
  • Not only Islam is under pressure in China. The authorities also close Christian churches, remove crosses from them, and persecute priests and parishioners.



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