The CCP continues to eliminate Muslim culture and Islamic faith by prohibiting people from observing traditional practices during the holy month of Ramadan.
by Yuan Wei
A government insider from a city in the eastern province of Zhejiang revealed to Bitter Winter that the municipal government issued a document in April, demanding to increase “counter-terrorism and stability maintenance measures” during the holy month of Ramadan, which began at the end of last month. The police are instructed to intensify surveillance of local ethnic Muslims, especially during Friday prayers, the daily breaking of the fast, and other important Ramadan activities. The document also demands to step up the control and surveillance of ethnic minority visitors from Xinjiang by checking their documents and luggage and determining their whereabouts and other information.
Under the banner of “combating religious extremism,” Muslims from Xinjiang are treated as “terrorists” in China, and the authorities monitor them closely whenever they travel or stay in hotels. Inside Xinjiang, millions of Uyghurs and other Muslims are kept in transformation through education camps where they are subjected to mandatory indoctrination. Even wearing a beard or a face veil is treated as “religious extremism.” By suppressing any cultural or religious expression, the CCP aims at eliminating Muslims’ ethnic identity.
Ordered to break traditions
“During the Ramadan, we fast throughout the day, not eating any food or drinking water,” a Muslim from the northwestern province of Qinghai told Bitter Winter. “But the government forces us to break this rule by arranging personnel to place bottles of water on our way to the mosque, forcing everyone to drink before entering the place of worship for prayers.”
Xinjiang Uyghurs studying in inland China are also restricted from observing the Ramadan. A high school teacher from the eastern province of Shandong said that the school asked all Uyghur students to eat during Ramadan, forcing them to have pork dishes with Han students. Muslim students were also prohibited from holding any religious activities, threatened to be punished or sent back to Xinjiang if they were found praying. “This is done to ‘sinicize’ Uyghur students, which is the ultimate goal of education,” added the teacher.
According to a Radio Free Asia report, local governments in Xinjiang not only force ethnic Muslims to eat during the day throughout Ramadan but also ban them from observing other cultural and religious traditions of eating and sleeping. If government officials suspect that people were fasting, they give them sugar or pies to eat. If they refuse, they could be sent to transformation through education camps for “having ideological problems.”
Pork meals in cafeterias, pigs in Uyghur’s farms
A government insider from Xinjiang’s Korla city told Bitter Winter that in November 2018, a leader of a government agency in the municipality instructed the institution’s cafeteria to change the menu by making pork the main option for meals. Since then, the pig’s head meat and trotters became everyday dishes. The cafeteria’s Uyghur chef was very apprehensive about cooking pig meat; she even started crying. But her colleague immediately urged her to control herself, or she could be fired if superiors saw her breakdown. The woman had no choice but to surrender, not daring to complain.
Even CCP members cannot escape such torment. In September last year, the authorities of Xinjiang’s Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture organized a two-month training for Party members, during which Uyghur Muslims were demanded to have the same meals with other participants. They were not allowed to go out for meals in halal restaurants on any excuse. Several Uyghur attendees, who refused to eat in the cafeteria, were summoned by their superiors, after which they had no alternative but to eat non-halal food.
The government also forces Uyghurs to raise pigs. According to a construction worker in Xinjiang’s Hotan city, at the end of 2018, the municipal government required every village under its jurisdiction to build pigpens, forcing local Uyghurs to raise pigs. Those who did not know how to take care of the animals were sent to training classes.
In 2019, the year of the pig, according to the Chinese zodiac, couplets “Happy year of the pig; make a fortune in the year of the pig” were forcibly posted on doors to Uyghur’s houses in some villages of Xinjiang. The move has upset people, but they did not dare to tear the couplets down because they were threatened to be sent to internment camps if they did.