China’s Hui Muslims fearful Chinese New Year education ban a sign of curbs to come

Date: February 16, 2018 
By: Michael Martina

GUANGHE, China (Reuters) – For some in China’s ethnic Hui Muslim minority here, a recent ban

The sun rises over mountains and mosques in China’s Linxia, Gansu province, home to a large population of ethnic minority Hui Muslims, February 3, 2018. Picture taken February 3, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Martina

on young people engaging in religious education in mosques is an unwelcome interference in how they lead their lives.

Their big fear is the Chinese government may be bringing in measures in this northwestern province of Gansu that are similar to some of those used in the crackdown on Uighur Muslims in the giant Xinjiang region further to the west.

Well-integrated into society and accustomed to decades of smooth relations with the government, many Hui have watched with detachment as authorities have subjected Xinjiang to near-martial law, with armed police checkpoints, reeducation centers, and mass DNA collection.

But in January, education officials from the local government in Guanghe county, which is a heavily-Muslim area, banned children from attending religious education during the Lunar New Year break. That lasts for several weeks around the week-long public holiday period that started on Thursday.

It is unclear if the ban, similar to those used by the authorities in the Uighur communities, will continue after the holiday, but it appears to conform to new national regulations that took effect on Feb. 1 aiming to increase oversight over religion.    [FULL  STORY]


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