Chinese city tells Muslims who consider alcohol forbidden to hand themselves in to authorities

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 15:25 -- Uyghur3

A Chinese city has ordered members of a Muslim minority group to turn themselves in to authorities if they observe practices such as abstention from alcohol.

Hami city government in the far-western Xinjiang region said people “poisoned by extremism, terrorism and separatism” would be treated leniently if they surrendered within the next 30 days.

 

The move comes as Beijing faces increasing international scrutiny over its treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority and other ethnic groups living in Xinjiang.

 


As many as a million Uighurs are thought to have been rounded up and placed in “re-education” centres, in what China claims is a clampdown on religious extremism.

The government message to Muslimsin Xinjiang warned actions from contact with overseas terror groups to conservative Islamic behaviour would require individuals to turn themselves in.

Those who reject government-provided housing, alcohol or cigarettes on the basis they are “haram”, or forbidden by Islam, were ordered to notify authorities.

Advocating people live their lives entirely in accordance with the Quran or preventing dancing at weddings were also listed as problematic behaviours.

“All individuals involved in terrorist crimes and poisoned by the 'three evil forces' are urged to surrender themselves to the judicial organs within 30 days and to confess and hand over the facts of your crime,“ the notice said.

 

China has for decades sought to stamp out Islam in order to maintain its influence on Xinjiang, where almost half of the 24 million-strong population are from Uighur or other Muslim minority backgrounds.

Authorities claim the region is under serious threat of attacks by Islamist extremists aiming to stir up tensions between the ethnic Han Chinese majority and the Muslim population. 

In August, a United Nations human rights panel said it had received many credible reports that a million or more Uighurs and other minorities are being held in what resembles a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy”.

 

China insists it is not enforcing arbitrary detention and political re-education.

However, those who have spent time in the centres say they were forced to undergo an intensive indoctrination programme, urged to renounce Islam and instead heap praise on the Chinese Communist Party

Aside from mass detentions, human rights groups also say the Chinese government has significantly raised limitations on everyday religious observances in the region.

Last month, the region's capital Urumqi launched a campaign targeting halal products, like food and toothpaste, which are produced according to Islamic law, in order to prevent what it sees as the incursion of Islam into secular life.

Reports have also circulated authorities are collecting biometric data and voice samples from Uighur citizens when they apply for identification cards or passports.

Additional reporting by Reuters