Amid an alleged rise in clampdown on religious minorities in China, the government has been “renovating” mosques in across several provinces to adhere to its laws against religious expression.
Recently, China allegedly removed the Arabic-style domes and minarets of Nanguan Mosque in Ningxia province and repainted the building to make it fall in line with the Communist Party of China’s strict stance against the expression of religion.
Images of the “renovated” mosque were shared on social media by British diplomat Christina Scott who is the head of the United Kingdom’s mission in China. “TripAdvisor suggested the Nanguan Mosque in Yinchuan well worth a visit. Only this is what it looks like now, after ‘renovations’. Domes, minarets, all gone. No visitors allowed either, of course. So depressing,” Scott wrote.
TripAdvisor suggested the Nanguan Mosque in #Yinchuan well worth a visit. Only this is what it looks like now, after ‘renovations’. Domes, minarets, all gone. No visitors allowed either, of course. So depressing. pic.twitter.com/WSXaAFclHX
— Christina Scott (@CScottFCDO) October 18, 2020
She further shared images of the mosque in the past with its domes and minarets intact. As of now, the domes and minarets have been removed. Only the name of the mosque has been allowed to remain written in Chinese at the entrance to the building.
This is not, however, the first such mosque to have been “renovated” in China. Similar changes were made to a mosque in Linxia in Gansu province, the city which is known locally as ‘Little Mecca’.
The news comes amid widespread criticism of China’s alleged clampdown on religions like Islam and Christianity and its alleged abuse and forced internment of Uyghur Muslims in several parts of China such as Xinjiang.
Uyghur Muslims used to be the main native population group of Xinxiang, along with other small ethnic groups like Hui (Chinese Muslims) Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Tatars, Tahurs and Russians. But with mass-migration, the Han Chinese people, the main Chinese ethnic group, are now the second-largest population group in Xinjiang.
According to experts, China started a crackdown on Uyghur Muslims after the collapse of USSR and emergence of Central Asian Nations fearing it will push the desire for independence even more among Uyghur Muslims. Xi Jinping has only exacerbated it, to its final solution level.