As the Chinese authorities have banned products made especially for Muslims, businesses have had to bear substantial direct and indirect losses.
Bitter Winter has previously reported about “halal generalization” as well as how the authorities in Xinjiang have been destroying businesses because of the policy. Products that are certified as “halal” or resemble Islamic motifs even remotely are consistently thrown out of shelves, and the business owners are often fined for keeping these products.
Halal refers to food and drink items that are permissible for consumption as per traditional Islamic laws. For many Muslims, it is of vital importance and a part of how they practice their faith. However, in an indirect assault on their faith, the authorities have left no stone unturned in virtually eradicating such products from the market.
Bitter Winter spoke to several business owners in Lanzhou city of Gansu, a province neighboring Xinjiang, where they have borne the brunt of this policy.
One of them revealed that as per new regulations, which have been in place for almost six months now, mentioning the term “halal” on the packaging of food items is prohibited. If such a product is ever found, it has to be sent back to the supplier.
He further added, “Until now, all of the Hui products were marked as halal. If not, some Hui people do not dare to eat them. By prohibiting such products, the government is forcing Hui people to accept non-halal foods.”
During an interview with a salesman at a sugar and alcohol wholesale market, he received phone calls from several sales merchants, demanding that he took away his products from their store as soon as possible.
At a grain store, the owner spoke about an inspection by officials. He said, “The day before yesterday, three Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials showed up here. When they saw some condiments marked as halal, they threw a box of MSG outside onto the street in anger. They also smashed and broke two jugs of vinegar.”
When the owner protested against this, the FDA officials threatened him and said, “You still dare to oppose the Communist Party? Whatever the Party tells you to do, you must do it. If you continue selling these products, we will confiscate them.”
Another grain store owner had a similar story to tell. He had recently bought 200 bags of flour from a supplier in Xinjiang. But because it bore labels in Arabic text, he was forced by FDA officials to return them. When he explained that this product has a short shelf life and will be sold in a few days, they refused to listen to him. In addition, the officials confiscated the products marked as halal from a convenience store. That day, the convenience store suffered losses worth 5,400 RMB or nearly 800 USD for no reason other than a discriminatory CCP policy.
A salesman who supplies products to these shops spoke about the losses incurred by the company where he works. As per him, every store he works with has already lost an average of 2,000 RMB or almost 300 USD. His company, on the other hand, has had to print new labels for several items. At 0.4 RMB per copy, the direct loss is 20,000 RMB (3,000 USD) for printing 50,000 copies. There are also a series of other issues such transportation costs and prior agreements with merchants, all of which have resulted in indirect losses of up to 100,000 RMB or over 14,000 USD.
Reported by Ma Xiagu
Last edited on December 8, 2018.