Bangkok Post

For­eign min­istry re­futes mosque de­struc­tion claims by think-tank

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>>SHANGHAI: China’s for­eign min­istry de­nied claims from an Aus­tralian think­tank that it had de­stroyed thou­sands of mosques in its Xin­jiang re­gion, and said there are over 24,000 mosques there, “more mosques per capita than many Mus­lim coun­tries.”

The Aus­tralian Strate­gic Pol­icy In­sti­tute (ASPI) had re­leased a re­port on Thurs­day which es­ti­mated that about 16,000 mosques in Xin­jiang have been de­stroyed or dam­aged as a re­sult of gov­ern­ment poli­cies, mostly since 2017.

The es­ti­mates were made us­ing satel­lite im­agery and based on a sam­ple of 900 re­li­gious sites prior to 2017.

“The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has em­barked on a sys­tem­atic and in­ten­tional cam­paign to re­write the cul­tural her­itage of the Xin­jiang Uighur Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion... in or­der to ren­der those in­dige­nous cul­tural tra­di­tions sub­servient to the ‘Chi­nese na­tion’,” said the ASPI re­port.

In re­sponse to the re­port, for­eign min­istry spokesman Wang Wen­bin called it “noth­ing but slan­der­ous ru­mors” dur­ing a press con­fer­ence on Fri­day, and said the ASPI had re­ceived for­eign funds to “sup­port its con­coc­tion of lies against China.”

“If we look at the num­bers, there are more than 24,000 mosques in Xin­jiang, which is over ten times more than in the US,” he said. “It means there is a mosque for every 530 Mus­lims in Xin­jiang, which is more mosques per capita than many Mus­lim coun­tries.”

China has come un­der scru­tiny over its treat­ment of Uighur Mus­lims and claims of al­leged forced-labour abuses in Xin­jiang. It de­nies mis­treat­ing Uighurs, and say the camps are vo­ca­tional train­ing cen­tres.

 ??  ?? DIF­FER­ING IDE­OLO­GIES: A Chi­nese na­tional flag flut­ters near a minaret of the an­cient Id Kah Mosque in the Old City in Kash­gar in Xin­jiang Uighur Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion, China in 2018.
DIF­FER­ING IDE­OLO­GIES: A Chi­nese na­tional flag flut­ters near a minaret of the an­cient Id Kah Mosque in the Old City in Kash­gar in Xin­jiang Uighur Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion, China in 2018.

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