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Reorient Islam to China, be patriotic, China tells Muslims

September 21, 2022 19:44 IST

A top leader of the ruling Communist Party has asked China's over 25 million Muslims to "uphold the banner of patriotism" and reorient Islam to adapt to Chinese conditions, amid Beijing's diplomatic offensive to counter a damning UN report accusing it of serious human rights violations against Uygur Muslims.

IMAGE: A protest against China outside the Caglayan courthouse in Istanbul, January 4, 2022. Photograph: Dilara Senkaya/Reuters

Senior Chinese leader Wang Yang on Tuesday met with members of the newly-elected leadership of the China Islamic Association during which he called for full implementation of the ruling Communist Party of China's basic policy on religious affairs.


Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, has asked the association to maintain the correct political direction, uphold the banner of patriotism and socialism, and further strengthen the Chinese orientation in developing Islam in China, and facilitate its adaptation to socialist society, State-run Xinhua news agency reported.

He called for efforts to rally Islamic figures and Muslims closely around the party and the government for building China into a modern socialist country in all respects and realising the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.

Wang also urged the association to conduct strict governance of its operation, improve the democratic oversight of its leading members, and address pressing issues that matter to the sound development of the religion.

Wang's meeting with the association comes against the backdrop of the UN Human Rights Commission's recent report stating that the charges of rights violations against Uygur Muslims constitute "crimes against humanity" in the volatile Xinjiang province.

China has denounced the report released by UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet on September 1, hours before her term ended as a US-orchestrated report and declared it as "illegal, null and void."

The report, while falling short of terming the allegation of human rights abuse of Uygur Muslims of Xinjiang as genocide as alleged by the US and western countries, said the charges may constitute "crimes against humanity," seriously denting Beijing's defence of its crackdown in the resource-rich Xinjiang -- the home for over 10 million Uygur Muslims, who oppose large scale Han Chinese settlements to dilute their majority status.

The report also called for an urgent international response over allegations of torture and other rights violations in Beijing's campaign to root out terrorism in Xinjiang.

Beijing defends its crackdown against Xinjiang, saying the move is aimed at containing the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) which is allegedly linked to radical outfits like Al- Qaeda and the Islamic State.

China also advocates the Sinicisation of Islam which broadly meant bringing it in tune with the policies of the CPC.

China has over 25 million Muslims, mostly Uyghur -- an ethnic group of Turkic origin -- and Hui Muslims, who are of Chinese ethnic origin.

K J M Varma in Beijing
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