Mosques across China are “sinicized” by the regime that forcibly imposes communist ideology on the faithful, removing religious tenets and values from their lives.
by Wu Haiping
Since last year, the CCP has been forcing people of faith to sing “red” songs, hold activities that praise the Communist Party, and include into sermons the expression of love to it. This is happening in all places of worship, regardless of denomination.
In August, a mosque in Meihekou city in the northeastern province of Jilin was getting ready to celebrate Eid al-Adha – one of the two major religious holidays in Islam, honoring the willingness of prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, following God’s command. The celebration didn’t start immediately after everything was ready; it began only after some officials and three police officers arrived.
Unlike in the past, the mosque’s Hui Muslims celebrated Eid al-Adha by singing “I Love You, China,” “Splendid China,” and other songs praising the communist regime.
The change has been implemented based on a document, issued in March by the Islamic Association of Jilin, entitled, Notice on Holding Learning Activities to Build “Harmonious Mosques” and Implement “Four Requirements” in Mosques.
The nationwide “four requirement campaign,” launched in June 2018, demands religious communities to raise the national flag, promote China’s laws and regulations, the core socialist values, and Chinese traditional culture. The new “five recognitions” initiative, mentioned in the document, adds to the requirements the need to recognize the country, the Chinese nation and culture, the Communist Party of China, and socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Some mosques in Zhuanghe, a city in the northeastern province of Liaoning, were demanded by the local Religious Affairs Bureau in August to hold activities under the theme “Bless the Motherland and Fulfill the Chinese Dream,” organize studies of the core socialist values, and hold flag-raising and anthem-singing ceremonies.
But engaging in these “Party-loving activities” isn’t something that believers do of their own volition.
“Who would dare to disobey the government? If we refuse, the mosque will be shut down,” an imam from Zhuanghe said angrily. “If we do what they say, they will slowly ‘devour’ us, turn us into followers of the Communist Party.”
At a Friday prayer service in September, a mosque in the central province of Hubei was forced to host a touring lecture to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Communist China.
“The Quran advocates peace, justice, honesty, kindness, and trustworthiness. Promoting and advocating the virtues of Islam, safeguarding the unity of the motherland, establishing socialism, and practicing the core socialist values are the foundation of our Islamic faith. Devoting our efforts to realize the ‘Chinese Dream’ of socialism is the duty and responsibility of every Muslim.” This is an excerpt from an imam’s speech, entitled “Practicing the Core Socialist Values.”
Similar touring events are also held in some places in the central province of Henan. “It isn’t just speeches. When giving lectures on scripture, we have to integrate the core socialist values, ethnic unity, and the five recognitions. We have to prepare drafts of the lectures in advance for review by officials from the Religious Affairs Bureau,” said an imam from Henan’s Zhengzhou city.
“Although the government’s version of Islam retains the exterior, the fundamental tenets have been altered, all according to the CCP’s policies and requirements. The Islam under the government’s control exists in name only,” added a local Hui resident.