CHINA: Investigation reports suggest at least thirty-three mosques and major shrines were partly or completely demolished in Xinjiang China Since 2016.
The Guardian and Bellingcat open-source analyst Nick Waters, using the satellite imagery checked the location of hundred mosques and shrines.
The location of these mosques were identified by ones residents of these areas, researchers and crowd-sourced mapping tools.
Ninety-one sites were analysed.
Between 2016 and 2018 many suffered notable structural damages. These included thirty-one mosques and two major shrines. The Imam Asim complex also suffered the same fate.
Fifteen mosques out of these have been completely razed.
Rest of the mosques damaged had gatehouses, domes, and minarets removed.
Some of the mosques on purpose did not have the domes or minarets to hide the identity by the authorities. The buildings/mosques also appeared destroyed. Nine of such locations of such buildings identified by the former residents also remain destroyed.
Mosques Demolished in Xinjiang China
Hundreds and Thousand Mosques Destroyed
Campaigners and researchers believe Chinese authorities have demolished not just hundreds but thousands of mosques.
The confirmation of these sites have been difficult due to following reasons
There are no proper records of these sites
Many of these mosques and shrines are located in small villages
The police do not give proper independence to journalist and researcher to travel to these locations in Xinjiang.
Reports of destruction cannot be obtained from residents due to widespread surveillance.
Today Guardian carried a report on the demolition of 20 mosques in Xinjiang in recent years. I have not heard of anything like this. We hope relevant media will be less enthusiastic about getting information by the grapevine & spreading hearsay.
Following policies that protect freedom of religious belief, China administers religious affairs according to law. We are resolute in fighting religious extremism. Normal religious activities are guaranteed in accordance with law.
There are 35000 mosques in China, 20 million Muslims are free to practice their religion in accordance with law. Xinjiang is a region open to the world. There will be no problem at all as long as the visitors abide by Chinese laws & fulfill relevant procedures.
US Assistant Secretary of Defense Shriver said 3 million people are detained in “concentration camps” in Xinjiang. It is simply not true. Residents in Xinjiang enjoy a happy life with stability, economic development &social harmony.
Vocational & educational training institutions were set up as a preventive measure to combat terrorism. Relevant measures were taken according to law, which is endorsed & supported by people of all ethnic groups & has produced positive social effects.
The comments made by the US on Xinjiang are a gross interference in China’s internal affairs. China deplores & firmly opposes them. We urge the US to respect the fact, abandon bias, exercise prudence in words & deeds, stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs.
Imam Asim Shrine Before
Imam Asim Shrine After
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