Authorities in China’s Xinjiang Province on Oct. 9 announced the passage into law of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region Regulation on De-extremification. The Xinjiang government now has the legal authority to attack any behavior that it regards as “extremist.”
The new regulations came into effect immediately.
The law stipulates: “The definition of extremism, for the purposes of the regulation, refers to any speech or behavior influenced by extremism or which expounds any extremist religious thought or ideas and which rejects or interferes with normal production and livelihood.”
According to the regulations, concrete manifestations of extremism include wearing, or forcing others to wear, “face-obscuring veils” or “extremist symbols,” wearing non-standard facial hair or taking a name that plays up to religious fanaticism, interfering with the communication and integration of people belonging to other ethnic groups or religions, not allowing children to receive a state education and hindering the implementation of the national education system.
According to this wording, a father who does not agree to his daughter marrying a Han Chinese or someone with different religious beliefs, or a mother who insists that her son should speak Uighur, could both be labeled as “extremist.”
The question is: How does the Chinese Communist Party intend to carry out this policy of “de-extremification”?
The answer can be found in Article 14 of the regulations: “De-extremification shall complete work on educational transformation, implementing a combination of individual and group education, combining legal education and mentoring, combining ideological education, psychological counselling, behavioral correction and skills training, combining educational transformation and humanistic care, and strengthening the effectiveness of educational transformation.”
Human rights organizations and the international community had already accused China of setting up “re-education camps” in Xinjiang and imprisoning millions of Uighurs to brainwash them.
The provisions outlined above clearly show that the “de-extremification” and “re-education” activities being carried out by the authorities in Xinjiang are not only to continue, but have now been “legitimized” through legislation, turning the re-education of Xinjiang’s Uighurs into a legal requirement.
In Muslim-majority countries and regions, “halal” not only refers to the food and the way it is processed, but it also means that one’s lifestyle, speech, behavior, clothing and so on are in accordance with Islamic beliefs.
The legislation bans “pan-halalism,” which indicates that the Xinjiang anti-separation movement is now even intruding on the daily lives of the region’s people.
Only time will tell what actual consequences the new rules will have on the daily lives of Xinjiang’s Uighurs and whether they will trigger a backlash.
Yu Kung is a businessman.
Translated by Lin Lee-kai
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