Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

China launches anti-halal campaign in Xinjiang

China launches anti-halal campaign in Xinjiang

Dr Brophy said the reports that prisoners from elsewhere in China were being taken to Xinjiang indicated the policy change was more likely to be about controlling Muslim detainees than addressing overcrowding.

China is undertaking unprecedented repression of its ethnic minorities including Muslim Uighurs, with authoritarian tactics potentially constituting "crimes against humanity" as human rights conditions deteriorate, a damning USA congressional report released Wednesday concluded.

China's far-western Xinjiang region has authorized the setting up of vocational training camps for Muslim Uighurs to crack down on people influenced by extremism, an official said Thursday.

China's western Xinjiang region has written "vocational training centres" for Muslim Uighurs into law amid growing worldwide concern over large-scale disappearances there.

"Of particular concern is the mass, arbitrary internment of as many as one million or more Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities in "political reeducation" camps in western China", committee chairman Senator Marco Rubio and co-chairman congressman Chris Smith said in the report's summary.

China launched its "Strike Hard" campaign targeting separatism in Xinjiang in 2014 following deadly violence in the region.

Over the years, Xinjiang has been transformed into a vast security state, packed with police stations, street cameras, and security checkpoints at which electronic identity cards are scanned.

It bans a wide range of acts deemed manifestations of extremism, including wearing veils or "abnormal" beards, refusing to watch state television or listen to state radio, and preventing children from receiving national education.

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The new rules are called the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Regulation on de-extremification and have been passed by the 13th people's congress of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

The ruling Communist Party has used the excuse of potential Islamic threats, "extremism" and ethnic riots to crack down on the local population in Xinjiang. American citizens and Chinese students and other US residents say they have been harassed over Xinjiang, the commission said in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

The region's anti-extremism laws have been in force since April previous year, and also ban Muslim men and women from growing "abnormal" beards or wearing veils in public.

One newspaper said the use of the term halal to describe items such as toothpaste blurred the line between religious and secular life and made people prey to religious extremism.

On Monday, Communist Party officials in the Xinjiang regional capital urged cadres via social media to fight an ideological battle against the trend of approving foods for halal certification. Entire families had disappeared, they said.

"Xinjiang's regional government is not empowered under China's constitution to legalize detention in the political education centers where a million Turkic Muslims are being held". There are around 11 million Uighurs living in Xinjiang, which means that nearly one in 10 of them has been detained, according to the United Nations.

Beijing has spent decades trying to suppress pro-independence sentiment in Xinjiang.

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