Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: June 30, 2018
Chinese Muslims in Xinjiang Province have been suffering intense persecution with huge numbers of persons detained and locked up in the so-called re-education camps under the pretext of fight against terrorism. Chinese Communist Party authorities are forcing them to undergo intense indoctrination as part of Xi Jinping’s “sinicization of religion” campaign – adapting religion to China’s socialist society.
Bitter Winter has recently learned that, in the past few months, dozens ofMuslims have been detained in a re-education camp in No. 1 production team of Xiaqiaozi in Lanzhouwan town, Manas County of Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture. Every Sunday, 70 – 80 Muslims traveled to a mosque in Gongbai village for religious services, but in 2017, the government issued an order prohibiting believers to worship in mosques. Local Muslims were distraught.“What is the Communist Party doing? We have believed in Islam for generations, why are they trying to change our religious beliefs now?” Local government officials threatened them that anyone who would not follow the leadership of the Communist Party – or who even dares to say ‘no’ – would be detained for re-education until they learned to obey.
On August 5, the Public Security Bureau of Manas County, Changji Prefecture joined forces with Lanzhouwan town’s local police station and detained villagers from No. 1 production team of Xiaqiaozi, apprehending over 20 Muslims. The police used propaganda statements while they accused the detained Muslims in public of “collusion with outside cult organizations” as an excuse for imprisoning them in re-education camps.
According to an inside source, everyone who is detained is required to give the names of six adherents of Islam. In April 2018, the village’s imam, Han Xiaojun, was among more than 50 individuals who were detained, all of whom have been imprisoned in Lanzhouwan conversion centers and put on the Communist Party’s blacklist, along with all of their off–springs. Those on the blacklist are stripped of many basic rights as citizens, such as the right to a university education, employment, an opportunity to take civil service exams, the right to join the military, and etc.
A local government official said that individuals detained for conversion would be detained for one or two years: “The government’s internal departments have made it clear from early on that if anyone asks how long it will be before those imprisoned for conversion can be freed we must say: first, this is for their own good; second, it is to teach them how to speak Mandarin, teach them about the law, teach them new skills, and help them improve themselves; and, third, the duration of the conversion process is determined by a bilateral assessment-based accumulated points system.”
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Bitter Winter plans to report on how religions are allowed, or not allowed, to operate in China and how some are severely persecuted after they are labeled as “xie jiao,” or heterodox teachings. We plan to publish news difficult to find elsewhere, analyses, and debates.
Placed under the editorship of Massimo Introvigne, one of the most well-known scholars of religion internationally, “Bitter Winter” is a cooperative enterprise by scholars, human rights activists, and members of religious organizations persecuted in China (some of them have elected, for obvious reasons, to remain anonymous).