It took 14 days for the Chinese government to destroy a large Hui mosque in Manas county of the Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang.
A resident of Manas county has reported to Bitter Winter how she witnessed the demolition of a large mosque at the beginning of the year. In the afternoon of February 2, she heard a rumbling noise and saw an excavator demolishing the mosque. By the time darkness had fallen, the eaves on the building’s north side had collapsed. On the sixth day of the demolition, authorities sent two additional excavators to continue destroying the mosque. The police cordoned off the area and placed two cars on duty, forbidding passersby from getting closer to the mosque.
By the 14th day, the mosque was completely demolished, and only a pile of rubble was left instead of a once beautiful building. The mosque covered an area of around 400 square meters, and many large-scale events used to be held there, often drawing more than 1,000 Muslims.
In recent years, the Chinese authorities have been continuously tightening their restrictions on Muslims in Xinjiang, warranting the persecutions as “combating separatism and religious extremism.” The government has forcibly demolished thousands of mosques under the pretext of “sinicizing” Islam (adapting it to socialist realities) causing millions of Muslims to lose their place of worship and sending innocent people to “transformation through education camps.”
Reported by Li Zaili
Li Zaili (uses pseudonyms for security reasons), born in Xinjiang in 1982, went to the United States to study at the age of 16. After graduating from university, Li returned to Xinjiang and worked in journalism. In 2014, Xinjiang authorities started detaining large numbers of Muslims in “transformation through education camps.” Learning of that, he left his original position and began independently collecting and organizing information related to “transformation through education camps,” and submitted articles for publication in overseas media outlets. After Bitter Winter was founded in May 2018, Li Zaili became a special correspondent of Bitter Winter covering Xinjiang, Xizang and some other regions in China.