Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: May 21, 2018
Since the Regulations on Religious Affairs came into force in February 2018, the Chinese Communist government has been strengthening its control and repression of Xinjiang’s Muslim religion and culture under the pretext of “sinicization of religion.”
A source in Shihezi Township, Shihezi city, told Bitter Winter that, in January, the Government started a blockade of the Third National Production Team in their township. Formerly, the teams were basic accounting and farm production units, but now most of them have been replaced by village groups.
The central government deployed troops with live ammunition to the production team and ordered them to forcibly escort all the villagers except for elders and children to a re-education camp. The Chinese Communist National Security Brigade tightly guarded the camp. During their detention, the villagers had to attend the national flag-raising ceremony every morning, sing the national anthem and swear an oath to the flag: follow the Party forever, never betray the country; firmly uphold national unity and fight against the “three evil forces” (a term coined to refer to the Xinjiang issue). Besides, the villagers had to pay 15 RMB for each meal. Apparently, an overlay network was established in the production team for wiretapping and monitoring villagers’ whereabouts.
Another source revealed that in April, the parents of a villager surnamed Feng (female, Hui minority) from the Third National Production Team were also forcibly escorted to a re-education camp. Feng used to work in the Bureau of Road Planning in Shihezi Township and was forced to quit the job because of her parents’ Islam faith. Her husband used to manage a two-story restaurant in Development Zone, Shihezi city, which was forcibly shut down because the government does not allow the restaurant to display the words “Qingzhen” (meaning halal) on its door.
A villager surnamed Ma donated a great sum of money to Islam mosques. The government claimed that he had donated the money to Eastern Turkestan, and, on April 27, arrested him on the charge of “supporting terrorist groups” and sentenced him to 9 years in prison. Ma could not accept the court decision and passed out in the courtroom. He was then sent to the hospital and died after a failed rescue attempt. All of Ma’s relatives were forcibly sent to the re-education camp.
According to a report by Free Asia in January, in the city of Kashgar in southern Xinjiang alone, there were over 120,000 people detained in re-education camps.
Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang is one of the most persecuted religious groups in China. The Chinese Government is engaged in a destructive religious suppression of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang under the banner of fighting separatism and terrorism.