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HomeWorldAfter Uyghurs, another Muslim minority is under fire in China

After Uyghurs, another Muslim minority is under fire in China

Satellite images accessed by ThePrint show mosques in Hui-dominated areas being remodelled to strip them of Islamic influence.

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China did it with the Tibetans and the Uyghur Muslims. Now, it appears to be in the process of Sinicising the community of Hui, reportedly the largest Muslim minority group in China.

Exclusive satellite images accessed by ThePrint show that mosques in the Hui-dominated areas of Gansu and Ningxia are being remodelled to reflect the aesthetic associated with China’s Han majority.

As can be seen in the images reproduced here, the domes symbolic of Islamic architecture are being replaced with structures that appear to curve outwards — a distinctive feature of traditional architecture in China.

And this remodelling is being pushed through with the public’s forced consent. 

Government officials in Gansu and Ningxia have been contacting residents every week. Each of the families contacted, it is learnt, is forced to sign letters asking the government to renovate the religious places since they have become old and require maintenance.

A mosque in Weizhou where the dome & minarets were replaced with Han-style architecture | Vinayak Bhat
A mosque in Weizhou where the dome & minarets were replaced with Han-style architecture | Vinayak Bhat
Hui mosque
A mosque in Weizhou, Ningxia, where the dome & minarets were replaced with Han-style architecture | Vinayak Bhat

The letters then become the main basis for local governments removing all Islamic literature, stripping the structures of their Islamic architectural influences, and giving them a Han-style makeover, in appearance as well as internal procedures.

Also Read: China separates kids from parents in Xinjiang ‘gulags’ as Uyghur Muslim suppression mounts

Protests punished

The Hui minority traces its roots to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan but lives in central China’s Ningxia, Gansu and Qinghai regions. The Hui people mostly follow Islam (Sunni/Wahabism/Salafism). 

The term for Islam in traditional Chinese is “回教” pronounced “Huijiao”, which literally means the religion of Hui people.

Comparison images from as recently as February 2019 throw the makeover of Hui mosques in stark relief, with domes and minarets replaced by Han-style structures.

The small shanty town of Wuzhong in Ningxia seems to have been affected the most — a mosque here has been without a dome for more than three years and is likely to remain thus for good as the roof appears to have been completely flattened.

Protests by the Hui are viewed as a violation of government policy and protesters are sent to jails and detention centres. The protests are termed illegal as the government justifies the renovation through the letters residents were made to sign.

Religious persecution

China, which claims to be atheist by virtue of its traditional affiliation to communism, has been on a drive to ‘homogenise’ religious minorities, like Buddhist Tibetans and the Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang.  

At both places, China is said to run detention centres — colloquially known as ‘gulags’, after the Soviet-era equivalents — where Buddhists and Uyghurs are re-educated in a manner that encourages them to give up their beliefs and pledge their loyalty to the state.

As reported by ThePrint this July, the subjugation of Islam went a step further when the Communist Party of China (CPC) secretary for Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Chen Quanguo (popularly known as “Gou”),  started exhuming graves to make way for malls, new buildings and infrastructure development.

A number of CPC policies seek to ban certain Islamic names, prevent the proliferation of Islamic culture, and reduce religious adherence among government employees, which will later be implemented for all common citizens.

Also Read: China claims it has no ‘Gulags’, but satellite imagery shows 3 new ones coming up in Tibet


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  1. First thing Hui Muslims are not of Kazakhstan original, they’re the mixed population that grew from intermarriages between Han(Ethnic majority) and middle East traders. The hui follow same culture as the han do and are hard to differentiate except for their Muslim influenced last names like Isa Ma( Ma stands for Mohammad).
    The hui enjoy the govt subsidies to go on Hajj and Medrasa education. as far as you have a proper permit you can build mosques. Even the Imam who leads prayers in mosque is govt appointed.
    China removing the domes from mosque is more mof cracking down of foreign cultural influence , they do the same with Churches or any other places of worship.

  2. China Nationalism is One China One culture. Why China opened Gulak equivalent to Concentration Camp for Uyghurs in Xi-Jiang province? Uyghurs demanded Freedom or Azadi like kashmir People & started terror acts bombing populated places in Uyghur region cause death of innocent citizens. Uyghur is most security wise & most strategic place opens up to Mangola,Russian front. Apart from strategic location,Uyghurs has vast reserve of Oil & Mining reserve area. China has made huge investment in Uyghur region in oil sector & Mining Sector. Size of Uyghur region is equivalent to 3 time size of France. At any condition,China won’t like to loose Uyghur Region in view of its size,oil reserve & mining rserve. China has no exception other than brain washing Uyghurs & put them in concentration camp,brain wash them & make them as Chinese rather than with Muslim identity. Kashmir is most strategic location for India & has to protect at any cost . In India, saying “One Nation,One Law” is deemed as Hyper Nationalism by Lutyen Journalists,Congis,Communists, their supporting cadre..

  3. Why should muslims adopt their religion to the country in which they are born? Why maintain social practice, architecture and culture better suited for desert in a hilly cold region? Adopt or perish. In India too, Mosques should adopt traditional Indian architecture. Architecture is evidently not intrinsic to islam, when the believers can pray facing any wall, or at home, or in their shops facing the west wall. They should adopt the culture of the country of their birth and live in harmony, not stick out like a crow amongst fantailed pigeons!

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