CHINA: President Xi Jinping has urged state authorities to step up efforts to preserve the idea that all national religions, particularly Islam, must abide by and adapt to the socialist society being sought by the Communist Party of China, which is currently in power.
This controversial remark was made following Xi’s first trip to the tense Xinjiang province since 2014, where it is claimed that a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities have been imprisoned in camps.
For the last several years, the region has been highly volatile and has placed China under human rights watch as Chinese forces have continued to quell protests by Uyghur Muslims over settlements from Han Chinese from outside the province.
Xi’s four-day tour of the region, which started on July 12, witnessed countless meetings with state officials. He stressed fostering a strong sense of brotherhood and community for the Chinese nation, as well as appreciating, advocating, and celebrating inter-ethnic exchanges, interactions, and integration, the official media reported.
He added that enhanced efforts should be made to ensure that the normal religious needs of believers should be united closely around the party and the government.
He further remarked that cultural identity must be regarded of the utmost importance, and sounded a call-to-arms for educating and guiding people of ethnic groups to strengthen their identification with the motherland.
China has accused the regionally active East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) of carrying out several terrorist assaults.
In opposition, China has denied Western allegations of committing ethnic cleansing or “genocide” in Xinjiang, claiming that its measures have simply eliminated the threat of Islamic terrorism.
Recently, UN Human Rights Council chief Michelle Bachelet visited Xinjiang after extensive negotiation with China to investigate the allegations of the internment of over a million Uyghur Muslims of different ages as part of China’s crackdown on Islamist militants. Bachelet raised concerns over the application of counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures by China.
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