As if they’re afraid of being outdone by Communist Party offices to their south in Tibet, the CCP is stepping it up in Xinjiang:
Chinese authorities in the troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang have closed down at least 200 places of worship and detained 129 Muslim Uyghurs in a security crackdown ahead of national parliamentary meetings in March, according to exile sources and official media.
The regional government recently launched a campaign against “illegal” religious activities, a campaign which overseas Uyghurs say targets their ethnic group.
“The Chinese authorities have launched an unprecedented clampdown on religious affairs in the region,” said Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress.
Raxit said that youths as young as 14 were punished in the latest campaign against unauthorized religious gatherings in Hotan.
“Nearly 3,000 people were given fines, among them a 14-year-old and a 76-year-old,” he said. “A lot of them were parents whose children were studying the Quran.”
“Apart from that figure of 1,400 people involved in the case, there were many more relatives who were fined and subjected to forced political re-education,” Raxit said.
The practice of Islam is tightly regulated by the ruling Communist Party, which bans Uyghur children from mosques and controls everything about their worship, from the wording of sermons to “approved” interpretations of the Quran.
According to the authorities, study of the Quran in an unauthorized location constitutes an “illegal religious activity.”