40 arrested for refusing to celebrate Dragon Boat Festival

Religious persecution is rampant
in China under Chinese President
Xi Jinping, as evidenced by this
official, who is tearing Christian
couplets off of the doorposts of
a churchgoer’s home, in this
undated photo. (Photo: ChinaAid)


(Hotan, Xinjiang—June 24, 2018) 40 Uyghur people in China’s northwestern Xinjiang were sent to “reformation camps” for refusing to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival, which took place on June 18.

According to World Uyghur Congress spokesman Dilxat Raxit, local authorities forced Uyghur people join with the Han people, China’s ethnic majority, in celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival. Officially, the government claimed this would create a harmonious relationship between the two ethnicities, but Raxit claims that they really meant to suppress the Uyghur’s largely Islamic culture.

The authorities’ actions back his observations. 40 Uyghurs from the Hotan, Kashgar, and Aksu regions of Xinjiang who did not participate were detained in reformation camps, or detention centers known for targeting and torturing minority groups. Additionally, more than 100 families were fined for refusing to eat zongzi, or leaf-wrapped rice dumplings common during the festival. Raxit said, “The officials fined the residents 50-1,000 yuan ($7.69-$153.71 USD) and required them to write a letter of guarantee as a promise that they would never participate in any illegal religious activities and would celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival from now on.”

Such blatant abuses come in the midst of a region-wide crackdown on ethnic minorities, many of whom are Muslim, under the guise of curbing extremism. However, most of the arrested are innocent, law-abiding citizens, sometimes arrested for discussing emigration, posting Qur’an verses to social media, or asking whether or not food is halal. Such practice on behalf of the authorities violates China’s Constitution, which guarantees all citizens religious freedom and forbids state organs from discriminating based on religious belief.

ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted in order to promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

ChinaAid Media Team
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