Officials in Xinjiang, China’s northwesternmost region, are pursuing a campaign against the mostly Muslim ethnic Uyghur population, confiscating religious items they’ve deemed illegal.
Radio Free Asia reports that hundreds of Qurans printed before August 2012 have been taken by authorities as part of the local government’s ‘Three Illegals and One Item” campaign: the banning of ” ‘illegal’ publicity materials, religious activities, and religious teaching, as well as items deemed by authorities to be tools of terrorism—including knives, flammable objects, remote-controlled toys, and objects sporting symbols related to Islam.”
Religious activity is heavily regulated in the country, to the point where texts used for worship have to be signed off by official organizations in order to be considered legal. Versions of the Islamic holy book printed in China after 2012 have been expunged of what the ruling Communist Party found to be “signs of extremism”.
Turghunjan Alawdun, a member of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress exile group, said that the government-sanctioned Qurans have added passages praising “submission to authorities,” in a bid to pacify a population that is largely hostile to the Beijing regime. This news comes just days after it was reported that Uyghurs have since late last year been forced to undergo medical examinations and DNA sampling.
The Central Asian region has over the last few years been the target of particularly repressive policies by the Chinese regime, with restrictions on local culture and language, as well as police raids which have killed hundreds since 2009.