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‘Sinicization’ of Islam ‘Inevitable’, Says Top Chinese Officials in Xinjiang

'Sinicization' of Islam 'Inevitable', Says Top Chinese Officials in Xinjiang
Photo : China File

A top Communist Party official in the Xinjiang province, which has a majority Muslim population, stated on Thursday “Sinicization of Islam” in the region is ‘inevitable’. These remarks were made by Ma Xingrui, the senior party official, six months after President Xi Jinping called for the promotion of the “Sinicization of Islam” during his visit to Xinjiang.

Sinicization refers to the process of non-Chinese societies or groups assimilating into Chinese culture, with the ultimate goal of conforming to Chinese cultural, ideological, and ethnic norms.

Ma Xingrui, who was previously the governor of Guangdong province, was appointed to head the administration in Xinjiang in 2021.

In recent years, President Xi Jinping has repeatedly emphasized the need for the Sinicization of various religions, including Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity, urging followers to demonstrate loyalty to the Communist Party. The Chinese government has been widely criticized for its long-standing campaign against what it perceives as terrorism and Islamic extremism in the northwest region. A UN agency’s 2022 report stated that “serious human rights violations have been committed” in Xinjiang in the context of the Government’s application of counter-terrorism and counter-‘extremism’ strategies.”

Despite international criticism and allegations of human rights abuses, regional officials deny claims of cultural genocide, portraying the region as open to foreign tourism and investment.

According to data presented by regional officials, more than 4,390 foreigners visited Xinjiang in 2023, and the region has significantly increased its renewable energy capacity, now reaching 64.4 million kilowatts.

However, Xinjiang’s reputation as a major base for solar cell production has been tarnished by allegations of forced labor. A November 2023 report by Human Rights Watch revealed that the Chinese government’s campaign of mosque closures, previously reported in Xinjiang, has now spread to the Ningxia autonomous region and Gansu province, where Hui Muslims reside.

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