China’s widening crackdown on Islam reaches Henan

Domestic News

On Wednesday, we published a little scoop from the United Nations — Chinese Foreign Minister Wáng Yì 王毅 raised the topic of Xinjiang internment camps at a meeting on the cooperation between the UN and regional organizations in countering terrorist threats. He said that “the deradicalization measures in Xinjiang…are China’s important contribution to the global fight against terrorism.”

While abroad, the government is proudly promoting its camps as “deradicalization measures,” at home, the “crackdown on Islam is spreading across China,” said the New York Times on September 21, describing the growing restrictions on expressions of Islamic faith on the Hui, a Muslim ethnic group that has so far escaped the mass internment policies that are being applied to the Uyghurs. On the same day, the Washington Post published: ‘Boiling us like frogs’: China’s clampdown on Muslims creeps into the heartland, finds new targets.

Now Emily Feng of NPR has gone further into the growing crackdown on Islam, which she found is reaching as far east as Henan (radio report, with text version, is here). From Feng’s Twitter summary:

80 percent of imams in Henan banished. The remaining subjected to ideological training — sometimes lasting days. Islamic schools in Yunnan, Henan and Ningxia outright closed. Where Xinjiang was in 2015, the Hui across China are now going through…

A mass campaign to remove all Arabic traces, including domes from mosques, Arabic dress like the abaya, is happening across China. Surprisingly, hardest hit may be not just Ningxia but Henan. But the biggest changes are happening inside the mosque…

Islamic schools closed in such a hurry I found dirty dishes left behind. Islamic teachers interrogated. All this began in earnest April 2018 — when the United Front took over control of China’s religious affairs bureau…

Local officials seemed to have learned from Xinjiang and covered their tracks well. “We ourselves do not even have the documents. [The United Front] takes them back at the end of each meeting,” according to recording NPR got of a meeting with officials in Henan to demolish a dome.

Other news of Xinjiang and repression of minorities:

A recently revealed mobile malware campaign targeting Uyghur Muslims also ensnared a number of senior Tibetan officials and activists, according to new research, reports TechCrunch.