onsdag 14. desember 2022

China Planting the Flag in Mosques and Monasteries

Over the last few years, the Chinese Communist Party has physically remade places of religious worship in western China to its liking. This includes not only the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, but also other areas with mosques or Tibetan Buddhist temples and monasteries. Eight Chinese government procurement notices, issued between 2018 and 2021, show local officials seeking to sinify religious sites in Gansu, Qinghai, and Sichuan provinces, as well as in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

In most cases, the notices cite the “four entrances” policy, which seeks to bring “the national flag, the constitution as well as laws and regulations, core socialist values, and China’s excellent traditional culture” into religious sites. Accordingly, several of the local government purchasers sought flags and 12-meter-high flagpoles for mosques or temples. One notice from a county in Ningxia listed the books authorities hoped to “enter” into “religious activity sites,” including Xi Jinping Talks about Governing the Country and An Explanation of Religious Affairs Regulations, among others.

In one instance, a town government in Sichuan province wanted to architecturally alter the local mosque. The procurement notice calls for purging “sanhua” (三化), or “the three -izations,” referring to “Saudi-ization,” “Arab-ization,” and “halal-ization.” Given government-imposed architectural changes elsewhere in the country, this likely means that the town wished to remove domes, minarets, or any other such features deemed insufficiently “Chinese.”