Sunday, September 22, 2019

"China’s clampdown on Muslims creeps into the heartland, finds new targets"

Members of the Hui minority, who number 10 million, hoped that the state crackdown would not arrive here, in the fertile valleys and loess hills of Gansu province, as it had in Xinjiang, the homeland of the other major Muslim ethnic group in China, the Uighurs.

Hope faded in April. Government cranes began appearing ominously over Hui mosques. A video surfaced on social media showing workers taking apart the Gazhuang mosque’s gold dome, then smashing it into the prayer hall.


That tide of “Sinicization,” as Chinese policymakers call it, is surging nationwide. A recent, unescorted trip through Gansu, a corridor that once ushered Silk Road caravans and Islam into imperial China, revealed an accelerating campaign to assimilate another Muslim minority, the Hui, a Chinese-speaking people with no recent record of separatism or extremism.


Domes and minarets are lopped off mosques and replaced with curving Chinese roofs. News broadcasts are forbidden to show pedestrians wearing traditional Hui skullcaps or veils. Arabic script is outlawed in public spaces, so practically every restaurant has a sun-beaten facade with dark traces where the word “halal” has been scraped off.
This photo from the story strongly reminds me of the multi-level cities described in David Wingrove's epic series about China conquering the world.