Wrecked mosques, police watch: A tense Ramadan in Xinjiang

Jama Mosque adorned with China's flag and propaganda banners that read 'Love the Party, Love the Country' in Kashgar prefecture's Kargilik county, in an undated photo. Photo:  Photo provided by an RFA listener

JUN 5, 2019, 5:06 PM SGT

HOTAN, CHINA (AFP) - The corner where Heyitkah Mosque in China's restive Xinjiang region once hummed with life is now a concrete parking lot where all traces of the tall, domed building have been erased.

While Muslims around the world celebrated the end of Ramadan with prayers and festivities this week, the recent destruction of dozens of mosques in Xinjiang highlights the increasing pressure Uighurs and other ethnic minorities face in the heavily policed region.

Behind the lot in the city of Hotan, the slogan "Educate the people for the party" is emblazoned in red on the wall of a primary school where students must scan their faces upon entering the razor-wired gates.

The mosque "was beautiful," recalled a vendor at a nearby bazaar. "There were a lot of people there."

Satellite images reviewed by AFP and visual analysis non-profit Earthrise Alliance show that 36 mosques and religious sites have been torn down or had their domes and corner spires removed since 2017.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT The Straits Times

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