China forcing Muslims to eat pork saying it will make them more patriotic in religious crackdown
During the Chinese New Year holiday, officials also expect Muslim households to show emblems of traditional Chinese culture by putting up decorations, say reports.
Authorities in Xinjiang, in China’s northeast, have delivered raw pork to Muslim households, says Radio Free Asia.
Muslims living in the Ili Kazahh Autonomous Prefecture told RFA that city bosses had also invited them to celebratory dinners marking the Chinese New Year, where they would be served pork.
Those refusing to attend were being threatened to be sent to a feared “re-education camp”.
Hundreds of thousands of Uighurs are being held in these detention centres, and being forced to undergo “deradicalisation” programmes including having to memorise and recite Chinese laws.
The Uighurs are ethnically Turkic Muslims, and about 11 million of them live in western China.
RFA says it has received photos of raw pork being delivered to Muslim households, on the eve of the Year of the Pig.
Pork and alcohol are forbidden in Islam.
An unnamed Muslim told the website: “Kazakh people in Xinjiang have never [eaten pork].
"Starting last year, some people have been forced to eat port so they can celebrate a festival belonging to the Han Chinese.”
THREATENED WITH 'RE-EDUCATION'
One woman, also speaking anonymously, said that if Muslims refused to hang lanterns or put up other decorations to mark the Chinese New Year, officials “say we are two-faced and they send us to re-education camps”.
Chinese officials use this term – “two-faced” – to target Uighurs and other ethnic minority groups who protest or refuse to take part in such events.
The MailOnline reports that the country’s top Islamic regulatory body, the China Islamic Association, has also ordered all Chinese mosques to raise the national flag to “promote the spirit of patriotism”.
In a letter published at the weekend, it said this action would “further strengthen the understanding of national and civic ideals and promote a spirit of patriotism among Muslims of all ethnic groups.”
STAMPING OUT RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION
It’s the latest in a string of attempts by officials to stymie any form of religious freedom or expression in the country.
The Sun Online reported last year how China was taking extreme measures to wipe out all traces of Christianity, by tearing down posters of Jesus and replacing them with images of President Xi Jinping.
The country’s ruling Communist party wants to eradicate the faith among its 138 billion residents, going as far as banning kids from visiting churches.
The government also forced Chinese Christians to sign contracts renouncing their faith, to help crack down on religious congregations – with video footage showing crosses and Bibles being burned.
According to The Times, the Communist Party began an anti-halal movement to stamp out what it regards as radical religious thoughts shared among the country’s 11 million Uighurs.
The paper said that Beijing is suspicious of all religions, and considers them a threat to party rule.
And there is a particular anxiousness about Islam, which it blames for fuelling militant violence.
Reuters reports that rights activists have this week urged European and Muslim nations to take the lead in establishing a UN investigation into China's detention and "forced indoctrination" of up to one million Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang province.
Beijing, which faces growing international concern over its "deradicalisation" programme for Muslims, said last month it would welcome UN officials if they avoided "interfering in domestic matters".
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