søndag 30. desember 2018

Inside "Cleansing" of Xinjiang: "‘Now We Don’t Talk Anymore’

In an old Silk Road oasis town on China’s western border, these days a thirsty traveller can knock back a cold beer in a local mosque. The former place of worship is now a bar for tourists. And it is with the customers’ views in mind—and, perhaps, the aspirations of China’s leaders—that the place is called “The Dream of Kashgar.”

For Kashgar’s Uighur residents, however, and for other Muslims across the Chinese region of Xinjiang, that dream is a nightmare. Last summer, when I traveled to Xinjiang, I witnessed the most abject sense of fear and trauma I have encountered in 27 years of researching identity and religion among its Uighur communities. Mosques were deserted and cloaked in razor wire, restaurants were stripped of their halal signage, and local people carefully avoided any expression of religious piety.