Under the all-powerful Chinese President Xi Jinping, China has heavily cracked down on religion, especially Islam practised by most Uighurs in the country’s Xinjiang province who Beijing suspects of having separatist and extremist tendencies.
According to a report, ‘China passed a five-year plan to Sinicise Islam at a meeting on Saturday with representatives from China’s eight Islamic associations. During the meeting, participants agreed to guide Islam to be compatible with socialism and implement measures to Sinicise the religion. This is China’s important act to explore ways of governing religion in modern countries’.
There are over 20 million Muslims in the country. Islam is one of the five officially recognised religions in atheist China. The other four are Taoism, Buddhism, Catholicism, and Protestantism. The top officials in the Chinese government have often likened the religion to mental disease that ‘needs to be cured’.
China has come under heavy international criticism for reportedly detaining over 1 million Muslim Uighurs in indoctrination camps in Xinjiang. In the past, Beijing has adopted heavy-handed measures with the authorities confiscating copies of the Quran, issuing diktats to Muslims not to grow beards, and not choose names for their wards which sound ‘too Islamic’.