Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: June 9, 2018
Since April 2017, the Chinese Communist Party has been conducting ceremonies of allegiance to the Party in government institutions, enterprises, as well as colleges and universities. Party and league members are called together to swear to listen to the Party’s words, follow the Party, and absolutely not believe in any religion.
In 2018, authorities of Xinjiang region that has a large Muslim population carried out allegiance swearing ceremonies in primary and middle schools. Authorities hide behind the idea of “upholding ethnic unity” and impose coercive measures upon schools by holding Party allegiance ceremonies to completely eliminate the religious beliefs of Xinjiang’s ethnic minority groups and make the future generations of the Uyghur people unbelievers. We present some illustrations of religion eradication practices through allegiance swearing ceremonies in the schools of the city of Shihezi, Xinjiang.
Shihezi Ethnic Middle School
At 9:30 a.m., on April 30, 2018, Shihezi Ethnic Middle School held an unusual oath ceremony in which over 1,000 school teachers and students, as well as the staff from the Municipal Public Security Bureau, the Court, and police stations, took part. They swore this oath: “I only believe in and follow the Communist Party. I will absolutely not be a two-faced person — supporting Marxism and Leninism and keeping Allah in my heart.” After the oath ceremony, at the directions of teachers instructed by the school leaders, students lined up in queues and walked around the books of the Quran and other articles typically found in Uyghur and Hui households, which were piled up on the red carpet. Teachers told the students, “You can’t believe in these things. You can only believe in the Communist Party. The policies of the Communist Party are so good. You should believe in no other religions, including the Islam you’ve believed in. Ethnic groups shouldn’t be separate from each other. We are all of one family. There will be no Islamic things in future. You are not allowed to speak the Uyghur language from now on. You shall only speak Mandarin Chinese.”
The school is strictly controlled by the local police: one has to pass four checkpoints before entering the campus. At the first security checkpoint, one fully-armed security guard with an electric baton stands on each side of the gate. All those who pass have to be searched, and their bags checked. There are monitors installed to watch every classroom, and school leaders supervise every student. Everything that parents bring their children has to be checked before students are informed to collect the things. One of the reasons for setting up the checkpoints was to prevent religious books and attributes from being brought in and spread on the campus.
The students at the school are Muslim, from 15 to 20 years old, and come from different places of Xinjiang. They are even watched by the fully-armed public police officers while doing their morning exercise at 6 a.m. No religious actives are allowed.
Shihezi Middle School No. 2
Since April of this year, teachers and students of the entire Shihezi Middle School No. 2 have many times held ceremonies to pledge allegiance to the Party. They raised their fists, said their names, and swore to be atheists, not to be two-faced, supervise their family’s belief and report them immediately if they found them believing in any religion without concealing such facts.
Shihezi Middle School No. 9
On the afternoon of May 14, in one class of Shihezi Middle School No. 9, the teacher required the students to tear all the pages with the Uyghur language in their English notebooks. The teacher said that this was an order from the Education Bureau. “All Uyghur language books or literature will have to be destroyed. Ethnic minority groups will not be allowed to speak their languages in future, and they can only speak Mandarin and English. They can’t wear national minorities clothes, and none of their festivals shall be celebrated. If anyone is found having notebooks in Uyghur when inspectors come to visit the school tomorrow, they will be taken to the juvenile reformatory to undergo political studies.”
On May 15, teachers gave each student a document, which reads that they will not believe in God and that they acknowledge atheism, asking them to sign it together with their parents.
At about 9 a.m. on May 17, students took part in an allegiance ceremony again, vowing, “I will absolutely not be a two-faced person, I do not believe in any religion, and I will watch my family, believe in no religion, and follow the Party forever!”