China’s top leadership, led by Party General Secretary and President Xi Jinping, has warned the Chinese people, especially those living in the Xinjiang province to shun the practise of Islam and to stick to China’s state policy of “Marxist Atheism”.
General Secretary and President Xi Jinping’s remarks made at the Second National Work Conference on Religion are being widely reported by state media led by China Central TV.
President Jinping’s warning is directed at the Uyghurs, who in recent times, have become very aggressive in their protests against the state. Large parts of the population living in Xinjiang province have become radicalised and the Chinese Government is only now realising the gravity of the situation.
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Xinjiang borders Pakistan from where the hardline Islamic teachings flow. China has also been subtly warning Pakistan to stop the flow of Islamic messaging to Xinjiang but to no avail. President’s Xi’s speech at the religious Conference was also a veiled message to Pakistan, say observers.
Making China’s State policy of intolerance towards Pan-islamic tendencies very clear, President Xi warned Chinese citizens “not to confuse themselves with non-CCP approved tendencies“ and to “never find their values and beliefs in this religion or any religion.“
Among the other warnings issued by him, was one to resolutely resist overseas infiltration through religious means and to guard against ideological infringement by Islamic extremists.
Other senior Communist Party Officials who spoke on this occasion highlighted the dangers that Islam is assuming in some parts of China, making the nation vulnerable to extremist infiltration.
Communist Party Officials strongly backed President Xi’s statements and cautioned citizens to be vigilant against Islamic tendencies like Halal products. They made it clear that Halal products will remain banned in China as these “promote religious segregation.“
While coming out strongly against Islam and Islamic traditions, the Second National Work Conference on Religion also promoted a number of articles that expressed support for the new policies.
One such article in the official newspaper of the CCP’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. It criticised Officials for having forgotten party discipline and engaging in the practise of physiognomy and fortune telling, burning incense and praying. This was followed by a report in the Xinhua on May 9 urging all Chinese Communist Party Cadres at all levels to engage in propaganda, political unity and to guide the masses away from religions, especially those which disrupt the Chinese state.
China has already declared 2016 as the “Year of Ethnic Unity and Progress”, a move aimed squarely at ridding the nation of Islamic influences.
President Xi Jinping is making efforts to tighten control over religious practises, as it is his belief that religion, especially Islam, could emerge as a competing force in society unless it is nipped in the bud now.
China’s Communist Party has declared that the growing influence of radical Islam is a national security issue and the declarations of the Work Conference on Religion have made it clear that Beijing will target all those who assist in the propagation of Islam.
In Xinjiang, there is already considerable resentment over the control being exercised over the practise of Islam, such as the growing of beards, observation of fasts during Ramazan, the wearing of the Hijab, dietary restrictions like consumption of Halal food, prayers five times a day and so forth. These practises are perceived as
“anti-state“ and are the subject of crackdown by the authorities.
President Xi has now made it clear that these policies will be reinforced with renewed vigour, as China is looking at Pakistan-sponsored Islamic radicalism as the number one threat to its society.