An institute that provided training and education in Arabic was recently shut down in Ningxia’s Wuzhong city.
In April, the authorities showed up at the Zaoyuan Arabic Translation Training Base and Islamic Scripture Institute under the guise of checking the building’s fire safety facilities.
Soon after, the officials claimed the building did not meet government’s standards for fire safety and ordered for it to be shut down. The entrance to the institute was locked and the Arabic signage was removed. The Chinese translation of the Arabic text was removed as well.
To ensure the order was being followed, personnel from the city’s United Front Work Department, Banqiao Town Department and other related departments would often visit to take photos and inspect.
The institute occupied an area of 7000 square meters and had two Arabic style buildings. One was a two-story teaching block and the other was a three-story office. More than 30 teachers were employed to teach the 700 enrolled students at the institute when it was shut down.
The institute was first established as Zaoyuan Zhong Institute in 1945. It was shut down in 1959 and was rebuilt in 2003 as the specialized Arabic training center. The center was of particular importance for the region’s Hui people, who practice the Islamic faith.
On April 19, the authorities issued a document, titled, “Views Regarding the Strengthening and Improvement of the Islam Tasks in Light of New Circumstances.” It stated that CCP would definitely not allow Arabic to be a national minority language. Schools and other educational institutes had to be prohibited from teaching the language or holding any kind of religious activities.
Reported by Ma Xiagu