In Ningxia and Gansu, demolitions, closures, and repurposing of mosques show the CCP’s intention to destabilize Hui Islam.
by Ma Yingjie
Amidst the vast expanse of China’s political landscape, the threads of religious freedom are unraveling at an alarming rate, particularly in the northwestern regions of Ningxia and Gansu, home to significant Muslim populations. Under the guise of “mosque consolidation,” Chinese authorities have embarked on a systematic campaign to suppress Islamic practices, demonstrating a blatant disregard for the fundamental human right to religious freedom.
The ominous policy of “mosque consolidation” was initiated in 2017 and has since manifested as the demolition, closure, and repurposing of mosques. The purported objective is to reduce the overall number of mosques and tighten control over the practice of Islam. However, this bureaucratic maneuver is far from benign; it represents a calculated effort to stifle religious expression and erode the cultural identity of Muslim minorities.
One of the most alarming aspects of this campaign is the widespread destruction of mosques in Ningxia and Gansu, as revealed by “Bitter Winter” correspondents from various areas and now meticulously documented by Human Rights Watch. Using satellite imagery, videos, and images shared by Hui Muslims, the Human Rights Watch report paints a vivid picture of the systematic dismantling of these sacred spaces. Domes, minarets, and other Islamic architectural features are being removed, transforming vibrant centers of worship into mere shells of their former selves.
The Chinese government’s justifications for these actions are feeble and disingenuous. The claim of “mosque consolidation” rings hollow when faced with evidence showing a dramatic reduction in the overall number of mosques. The assertion that these measures are necessary to combat religious extremism serves as a thinly veiled pretext for suppressing dissent and maintaining authoritarian control.
At the heart of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) aggressive stance lies a deep-seated fear of religious groups as potential threats to its rule. The CCP perceives religious beliefs as a form of foreign influence capable of destabilizing its grip on power. This paranoia has given rise to a vast network of “religious affairs” officials tasked with monitoring and controlling religious activities nationwide. These officials function as enforcers, ensuring that all religious practices conform to the party’s dictates.
The CCP’s relentless pursuit of religious conformity not only violates fundamental human rights but also sows the seeds of social unrest. By suppressing the expression of faith, the CCP risks alienating significant segments of its population, fostering discontent that could have far-reaching consequences.
The situation in Ningxia and Gansu is indicative of a disturbing trend of religious persecution within China. The systematic dismantling of mosques and the suppression of Islamic practices reveal the CCP’s intolerance for any form of dissent, particularly when it comes to the fundamental right to religious freedom.
The international community cannot afford to turn a blind eye to these egregious violations of human rights. The plight of the Muslim minority populations in Ningxia and Gansu demands urgent attention and condemnation. The erosion of religious freedom in these regions is not an isolated incident but part of a broader pattern of repression that extends beyond religious boundaries.
Efforts to address this issue must include diplomatic pressure, economic sanctions, and international condemnation. Nations committed to the protection of human rights must unite in holding China accountable for its actions. The United Nations should play a pivotal role in investigating these human rights abuses and working towards a resolution that restores religious freedom in the affected regions.
In conclusion, the systematic erosion of religious freedom in China, particularly in Ningxia and Gansu, demands a robust and unified response from the international community. The CCP’s crackdown on mosques is not only a violation of fundamental human rights but also a dangerous game that risks igniting social unrest within China. As advocates for freedom and justice, we cannot stand idly by while the rights of millions are trampled upon in the name of political expediency.
The world must act swiftly and decisively to condemn China’s actions and hold them accountable for their blatant disregard for human rights. By uniting in our opposition to this persecution, we can send a clear message that the erosion of religious freedom will not be tolerated. The future of religious freedom in China hangs in the balance, and it is incumbent upon us to ensure that the rights of all individuals to practice their faith freely and without fear are upheld.
Furthermore, it is crucial to support and empower the Muslim communities in Ningxia and Gansu, providing them with the resources and assistance they need to preserve their cultural identity and defend their fundamental rights.