Islamophobia in China
I’m waiting for the American elite, progressive, left to start condemning China…I’m waiting…I think that I’ll have a long wait. An official ban on burqas (fully body coverings), veils and “abnormal beards” went into effect on 1 April in China’s Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region. The Chinese explain that the ban is part of a continuing crackdown on religious extremism. Since atheism is the official religion of the People’s Republic of China, they have been big on crackdowns.
The 15 new regulations require government workers in airports, railway stations and other public places to “dissuade” women who fully cover their faces and bodies from entering and report them to the police. They also prohibit the “abnormal growing of beards and naming of children to exaggerate religious fervor.”
New regulations also state that it will be forbidden to “reject or refuse radio, television and other public facilities and services”; to marry using religious rather than legal procedures and “to use the name of Halal to meddle in the secular life of others.”
“Parents should use good moral conduct to influence their children, educate them to revere science, pursue culture, uphold ethnic unity and refuse and oppose extremism.” The document also bans not allowing children to attend regular school, not abiding by family planning policies and deliberately damaging legal documents.
The new regulations are an expansion of a long list of restrictions that limit religious practices and observances by the 10 million Uighurs in western China. For many years, China has maintained tight control of the region because of activism and occasional attacks by Uighur separatists. The new regulations appear aimed at preventing the spread of the Islamic State’s ideology beyond the Uighurs, most of whom are Muslims.
Xinjiang, and the Pamir Mountain range is about as far from anywhere as anyone can get and China has historically had difficulty maintaining control there. The number of police officers murdered in that part of the country is exceptionally high – unless you look at official Chinese statistics. Many disappear. Sometimes the body is mutilated and left to be found as a warning to others. Sharia Law has replaced Chinese Law in many areas, unless the government is hard everywhere, all the time, and it’s not that easy to do in that remote place.
Call it Something Else
At a regular monthly news briefing on 30 March, National Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said, “There is no such thing as man-made islands,” in reference to the Spratly Islands. He said, “Most of the building is for civilian purposes, including necessary defensive facilities.”
Wu implied that there was a possible misunderstanding because there was construction work, which China had every right to do as the Spratlys were inherent Chinese territory.
When asked to explain the apparent contradiction, Wu declined to elaborate. He said China already provided a full explanation of its construction work.
The statement by the spokesman is confounding, but it spotlights the difference in viewpoint between the National Defense and the Foreign Ministries. The National Defense Ministry spokesman presented a counter-factual interpretation, but that might be the dominant interpretation in the government. It is similar to Chinese denials that they have militarized any islets.
None of the seven islets on which China has dredged, expanded and built structures were above water continuously ten years ago. All of them were labeled reefs. But who are you going to believe, the Chinese National Defense Ministry or your lying eyes