Understanding China’s policies towards its Muslim communities

Madatali, Hannah

[thumbnail of 51-Focus-51.pdf]
PDF, English
Download (256kB) | Terms of use

Download (256kB)
For citations of this document, please do not use the address displayed in the URL prompt of the browser. Instead, please cite with one of the following:


News of the coronavirus epidemic outbreak in Iran disclosed the presence of hundreds of Chinese seminarians in the religious city of Qom. Reports of the link between the outbreak of the virus and the Chinese seminarians succeed very recent news of China’s policies towards its Muslim minority communities. Thus, it stands in this framing as a paradox that the Chinese government stood complacent with the travel of hundreds of its citizens to Iran for the purpose of learning about and practicing Islam. As human rights violations committed in China have been framed as the reflection of an ‘anti-Islamic movement’ taking place in the country and condemned by international political actors as actions against ‘freedom of religion’, it may be worth questioning why these two very distinct realities coexist within the same system. Part of the answer lies, perhaps, in the geographical position of the most central region in the discussion of China’s violations of the basic rights of Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kirgiz, Tajiks and other Muslim minorities – Xinjiang, China’s bridge to South Asia and beyond. This Focus piece is intended as a contribution to the understanding of the Chinese government’s policies towards Muslim communities in China - seeking to unpiece the current consensus on China’s policies as religiously oriented policies and put forward a more sensible idea of these policies as politically and economically motivated. An idea not in any way new to the context of Asia and applicable from Xinjiang, to Burma, to Delhi to Hanau.

Document type: Article
Publisher: South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF)
Place of Publication: Brussels
Date: 2020
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2021 12:22
Faculties / Institutes: Miscellaneous > Individual person
DDC-classification: Religion
Political science
Controlled Keywords: China, Islam, Uiguren, Politische Verfolgung, Unterdrückung, Minderheit
Uncontrolled Keywords: China,Südasien, Iran, Coronavirus, Islam, Uiguren, Politische Verfolgung, Unterdrückung, Minderheit, Internationale Reaktion / China, South Asia, Iran, Coronavirus, Islam, Uyghurs, Political Persecution, Oppression, Minority, International Response
Subject (classification): Politics
Religion and Philosophy
Countries/Regions: China
Series: Themen > SADF Focus
Volume: 51