Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered officials to step up efforts to maintain the conception that Islam in the nation must adhere to the socialist society supported by the ruling Communist Party of China and that Islam in China must be Chinese-oriented.

Xi recently travelled to the turbulent Xinjiang province, where Chinese security forces have been trying to oppress Uygur Muslims for several years. The Chinese govt has been accelerating its Sinicization program in the region. During his four-day stay in the region, which started on July 12, Xi spoke with officials and stressed the need of fostering a strong sense of nationalism for China.

Xi stated that believers’ regular religious requirements should be met and that they should be tightly unified with the Communist Party of China and the government. He was reported by the state-run Xinhua news agency as stating that greater efforts should be made to defend the notion that Islam in China must be Chinese in orientation and to adapt faiths to socialist society.

Jinping’s remarks follow his first visit to the province of Xinjiang since 2014. In recent years, the Chinese president has advocated for the “sinicization” of Islam, which effectively means bringing it into line with the principles of the ruling Communist Party. Xi emphasized the value of cultural identity and urged all ethnic groups in the Xinjiang region to strengthen their ties to their native country, the Chinese people, and Chinese culture, implicitly denouncing Islam in the process.

Persecution of Uyghur Muslims in China

In the Xinjiang province of China, nearly 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities have been reportedly detained in a network of detention centres since 2017. By stating that the camps are vocational training schools, Beijing has refuted numerous and proven reports that it has tortured Muslims in Xinjiang. The Communist Party of China’s (CPC) objective is to integrate Uyghurs into the dominant Han Chinese ethnicity by stripping them of their religious and ethnic identities. While Uyghur Muslims face re-educational camps, forced labour, and digital surveillance, including their children being indoctrinated in orphanages.

The CPC restricts any news revealing the horrors committed against the Uyghurs in the detention centres in order to counteract scathing foreign findings. Several foreign journalists covering the plight of the Uyghurs have been expelled from China, while academics, activists, and survivors who try to expose China’s deceit have been mocked and harassed. Those who speak out against China’s illegal detention of Uyghurs are either intimidated or executed.