Xinjiang increases crackdown on minorities, forbids Qu’ran, Arabic language study

A copy of the notice sent to house-
holds to sign, forbidding study of
the Quran and the Arabic language.
(Photo: ChinaAid)


(Ili Kazakh, Xinjiang—March 6, 2018) In a continuation of a wave of persecution against Muslim minorities in China’s Xinjiang region, authorities have forced Muslim citizens to sign documents proclaiming that no one in their household will study the Quran and that they will report any who do.

Xinjiang, a large autonomous region in the far west of China, is home to several minority groups such as Kazakhs and Uyghurs, both of which are historically Muslim. Though the region has long been politically restive, recently tensions have increased monumentally with the spread of “political training centers,” where minority citizens are detained for months on end and forced to learn Communist propaganda.

Now, as of the evening of March 2, local authorities have started going to citizens’ homes, forcing them to sign contract proclaiming that neither they nor their families will study the Quran or the Arabic language. They must also pledge not to conduct any religious ceremonies outside of government-run mosques, as well as report any of their neighbors to the public security bureau who break these rules.

The document states that “The people studying the Quran and Arabic in my township and county are currently registered. There are none missing from the statistics. Today, I pledge to report what I know to the government. I understand there is a legal liability for hiding the truth. I swear that no one in my household is studying the Quran or Arabic.”

“The government forbids studying the Quran and religious rituals,” an anonymous Kazakh man said. “Since the Quran is written in Arabic, the government bans Arabic as well. [Many] Kazakhs in Xinjiang communicate in Arabic. From now on, they will be forced to speak Mandarin.”

Another Kazak said that they are also not allowed to hang anything written in Arabic on their walls. Muslim citizens in Xinjiang have disappeared during this crackdown, including an 80-year-old Kazakh shepherd woman named Hafurea in September and a 41-year-old Kazakh imam named Salheti Haribek in November.

Additionally, on March 1, Habahe County in Xinjiang issued orders that all residents in six towns and counties are to bring their knives to the police station to have them registered and so that authorities can print a 2D code on the side.

“They print codes not only on kitchen knives but also on the knives we use to butcher sheep and cows,” a local Kazakh said.

This initiative began in Yining, Xinjiang, last November, when authorities registered the kitchen knives of every ethnic minority household. They measured the length and width of the knife and registered the personal information of the owner. The police also placed the owners’ identity information on the knives and took pictures of them. Each household is only allowed to own one kitchen knife.

ChinaAid reports on instances of persecution against Chinese citizens, such as the minority groups in Xinjiang, in order to expose religious freedom abuses and promote human rights and rule of law.

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