In Xinjiang, authorities are now meddling with Islamic architecture of mosques, implementing President Xi Jinping’s plan to “sinicize religions” in China.
Chinese authorities have been remodeling mosques that still stand in Xinjiang. They might have evaded demolition somehow, but the authorities won’t leave a stone unturned to achieve CCP’s policy of “sinicization,” i.e., adapting religions to the needs of socialism and Communist Party.
The mosque architecture usually involves domes on the top, with a crescent moon and star symbol on them. Features such as these were removed from a mosque in Shanshan county by local authorities. In addition to that, they put up a Chinese banner at its entrance. It read, “Minor, students, Communist Party members, and state officials are forbidden from participating in religious activities.” The building looks so ordinary now that without verifying with locals, no one can tell that it’s a mosque.
Four other mosques in Shanshan were remodeled in a similar manner.
According to an inside source, the Chinese Communist Party held a meeting in Shaanxi last year to discuss mosque architecture. It was mentioned at one point that mosques from Southwest to the Northwest provinces were increasingly “Arabic” in style. That was seen as contrary to what Xi Jinping’s plan for “sinicization of religion” wants in China. It was decided that mosques should embody Chinese style and be in harmony with the characteristics and traditions of China.
In March this year, the director of the China Islamic Association denounced mosques for having Islamized architecture. After that, the regulation movement for the reversal of “Arabic assimilation” was launched in Xinjiang and Ningxia.
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.