Crackdown on Islam reaches Henan

Access Archive

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We’re recording a Sinica Podcast with a live studio audience in New York on October 16 with guest speaker Professor Jerome A. Cohen, perhaps the world’s most respected and experienced scholar of P.R.C. law, and still a firebrand. Click here for details.  

Our word of the day is a correction of an earlier word: The Universal Postal Union, which the U.S. will now remain a member of (see below), is 万国邮政联盟 wànguó yóuzhèng liánméng. 

Thanks to William White for pointing out that Universal is translated not by 全球 quánqiú — literally, “whole globe” — but by the more poetic 万国 wànguó — literally, “10,000 countries.” 

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief

U.S. and Chinese representatives to the United Nations Security Council debate Xinjiang policies on September 25. Photo by Kevin Pinner. 

1. Crackdown on Islam reaches Henan 

Yesterday evening, 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 (porous paywall) 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

2. July 2020 is when packages shipped from China to the U.S. get more expensive

Last week, we noted the Trump administration’s plan to leave the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a 144-year-old organization that governs the price of international parcel shipping. The American goal is to increase prices of packages from China, among other places. 

Today, Reuters reports that the UPU has “agreed to reform its fee structure under a proposal by the United States [so that] high-volume importers of mail and packages would be allowed to begin imposing ‘self-declared rates’ for distributing foreign mail from January 2021”:

Countries with more than 75,000 tonnes in post imported annually — mainly the United States — may apply their self-declared new rates from July 2020, UPU officials said.

“We will begin our self-declared rates at the end of June next year. This is exactly what we wanted and planned for,” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who led the U.S. delegation, told a Geneva news conference.

“We’ll buy less Chinese stuff, buy more from other countries, we will make more in America and the market will be free of distortions,” he said, crediting President Donald Trump…

“China is certainly going to pay more for the privilege of shipping to our market,” he said.

3. Wang Shuping, HIV whistleblower, dies in exile

From the Washington Post:

Wáng Shūpíng 王淑平, a medical researcher who defied Chinese authorities in the early 1990s by exposing the burgeoning HIV epidemic in one of her country’s poorest provinces, where an estimated 1 million destitute farmers sold their blood plasma at collection sites and were infected with the deadly disease, died Sept. 21. She was 59.

She was hiking in a canyon in Salt Lake City when she suffered an apparent heart attack, said her husband, Gary Christensen.

Dr. Wang had lived for the past 18 years in the United States, becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, but continued to contend with the intimidation by Chinese government officials that had helped drive her from her home.

The Chinese government harassed her until her very last days. On September 8, the Guardian reported

Chinese security officials have been accused of targeting a whistleblower’s family and friends in a campaign to force a theatre to abandon a play based on her case.

Dr Wang Shuping…said her relatives and former colleagues in Henan province are being told they should persuade her to drop the show at the London’s Hampstead Theatre.

She said the incident had revived memories of the original whistleblowing, but was determined that the show, The King of Hell’s Palace, should go ahead. “The only thing harder than standing up to the government and their security police is not giving in to pressure from friends and relatives who are threatened with their livelihoods, all because you are speaking out,” she said. “But even after all this time, I will still not be silenced, even though I am deeply sad that this intimidation is happening yet again.”

See also: 

—Jeremy Goldkorn


A nightmarish week for NIO Inc. investors got worse on Thursday, as at least two more analysts downgraded the Chinese electric car maker, citing a weak sales outlook, a high cash burn and a lack of clarity around financing. U.S.-listed shares of NIO have now fallen for five straight days, down 37 percent since their September 19 close.

The world’s fastest-growing market for electric vehicles is slowing. In China, sales of the vehicles declined 5 percent and 11 percent year over year in July and August, respectively, raising concerns that even in tech-hungry China EVs could be a hard sell for years to come.

Demand for labeling is exploding in China as large tech companies, banks and others attempt to use AI to improve their products and services. Many of these companies are clustered in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, but the lower-tech labeling business is spreading some of the new-tech money out to smaller towns, providing jobs beyond agriculture and manufacturing.

China’s Luckin Coffee Inc and International commodity merchant Louis Dreyfus Company plan to develop a juice business, as the coffee chain expands into new drink categories in its battle with Starbucks Corp.

Luckin and LDC’s joint venture will produce and distribute co-branded juices and includes plans to build a bottling plant, the companies said in a statement on Thursday.

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Within the growing stock of infrastructure that China is building up, power infrastructure, especially coal power plants outside China’s borders, is attracting increasing attention both for their contribution to energy accessibility in developing countries, particularly South Asia and South East Asia, and for their climate impacts for decades to come (“carbon lock in”).


After months of public unrest and criticism that she was ignoring the demands of protesters, Hong Kong’s embattled leader, Carrie Lam [林鄭月娥 Lín Zhèng Yuè’é], came face to face on Thursday with the fury and frustration coursing through the city during a question-and-answer session billed as a community dialogue.

Inside a stadium ringed by hundreds of chanting protesters, Mrs. Lam, the Hong Kong chief executive, acknowledged the widespread anger after 16 weeks of protests that have presented the government with its biggest political challenge in decades.

Every year, the message is the same: the government will fix China’s left-behind countryside through a raft of reforms. This year was no different, with measures meant to help farmers move to cities, educate their children, and invest in improving their land. 

But every year, the gap between village and city remains stubbornly wide. Many blame this on the fact that farmers are not allowed to own land, a policy that goes back to one of the founding decisions of the Communist revolution.

A rights activist who called publicly for the resignation of Chinese president Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 has died in a police-run detention center in the central province of Hunan, rights groups said. Wáng Měiyú’s 王美余 widow received notification of her husband’s death in the Hengyang Detention Center on Monday .Wang, 38, was detained two months ago after holding up a placard in public calling on President Xi to to step down. 



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