Chinese authorities are closing down, demolishing or repurposing a significant number of mosques in China’s Ningxia and Gansu provinces according to Human Rights Watch.
“The Chinese government is not ‘consolidating’ mosques as it claims, but closing many down in violation of religious freedom,” said Maya Wang, acting China director at Human Rights Watch. “The Chinese government’s closure, destruction, and repurposing of mosques is part of a systematic effort to curb the practice of Islam in China.”
“Mosque consolidation” is referenced in an April 19, 2018 CCP document that outlines a multi-pronged national strategy to “Sinicize” Islam. This document known as “Document No.10” was leaked as part of the “Xinjiang Papers.” It instructs the CCP and state agencies throughout the country to “strengthen the standardized management of the construction, renovation and expansion of Islamic religious venues.” The document notes that a central principle behind such “management” is that “there should not be newly built Islamic venues,” in order to “compress the overall number [of mosques].” While there can be exceptions, the document states that “there should be more [mosque] demolitions than constructions.”
In addition to the two Chinese provinces of Ningxia and Gansu, the Chinese government has destroyed the majority of mosques in East Turkistan (Xinjiang). According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), close to two-thirds of the mosques in East Turkistan have been destroyed since 2017.