Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: June 23, 2018
For five days in November 2017, in the village of Xiahuanggong, Xinjiang Province, armed policemen in helmets and carrying shields went from home to home forcing the inhabitants to hand over all items with Muslim symbols. Accompanied by the village’s auxiliary forces and citing government regulations, the police threatened that those who did not comply would be arrested and sent to “a re-education camp.”
The frightened residents of the village, which is located in Wuyi commune, Yuqunweng township, Yining county in the city of Yining, handed each item in their households that had any Muslim symbol or image, including handwashing pots, Qurans, bedsheets, caps, headscarves, and dishes. The police took all collected items to the courtyard of the village committee and burnt them. The raid lasted for five consecutive days, from November 20 to 24.
The police also closed down local mosques, and those who tried to protest were arrested, their whereabouts are unknown.
According to the villagers, the township’s Party secretary held a meeting before the onslaught. He announced the government policies related to religious beliefs, indicating that in China it is only allowed to believe and follow the Communist Party – no other belief systems is permitted. He said that the government was closing down mosques, and all Muslim identity elements, such as scriptures, pots for washing, caps, and headscarves are confiscated and burnt; Chinese Muslim women will no longer be allowed to cover their faces. The government is trying to assimilate Chinese Muslims, making them stay in the homes of Han Chinese to learn their lifestyle, so they could later live exactly as the majority of Chinese.
On March 8, 2018, the auxiliary police repeated the raid – they once again went to each house to conduct searches and force people to hand over items with symbols or patterns of Islam. The villagers, outraged but frightened, had to obey because the slightest disobedience meant being taken to a camp for conversion.
One of the villagers remarked that the Chinese Communist Party is violently suppressing all religious groups seeking to eliminate all faiths, leaving only the Party to believe in. “Can the removal of symbols and images really wipe out faith from people’s hearts? Can tyranny control people’s hearts? Such actions reveal their dictatorial ambitions and hatred of religion; this angers more and more people.”