Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: June 3, 2018
A college in the city of Xinxiang, Henan replaced the menu and the signboard of its canteen for minority ethnic students deleting the words in Arabic and leaving only Chinese characters. This is one more example of the Chinese government’s attempts to “sinicize” religions.
Sources informed Bitter Winter that, on April 30, 2018, at around 10:30 a.m., two school agents – one male and one female – visited the canteen, tore off the menu replacing it with a new one, and changed the canteen sign above the door. The new menu and the sign do not contain Arabic words as the original ones, but only Chinese characters.
Commenting on this event, the contractor of the canteen who is Muslim, Zhang Hao said, “I feel horrible. I am a Hui, and now the canteen sign does not have anything that distinguishes my identity. I believe this is discrimination against my people. My dignity is hurt. Now the government bans Islamic signs, if sometime later it will not allow me to wear the worship hat, I would dress completely like a Han. Isn’t this erasing the difference between Hui and Han?”
On April 28, threatened by the school, Zhang Hao had to remove the golden Arabic sign from the canteen sign. The school’s agents told him that employees from the local religious affairs bureau visited the school and ordered to replace all menus and boards that have Islamic signs with new ones, saying that it was a political task and religious beliefs were political issues.
At present, the school’s two Islamic canteens have been rid of all Arabic signs. Besides, the school forbids Hui students to wear their ethnic clothing or Hui accessories, and they must dress like Han people. It even bans them from participating in the Corban Festival of the Hui people.