The Chinese government has legalised the internment of up to a million Uyghur Muslims in the province of Xinjiang by revising a law on Tuesday 9 October to “carry out anti-extremist idealogical education and psychological and behavioral correction to promote thought transformation.”
The updated law, Article 133 now acknowledges the existence of mass detentions in re-education camps in Xinjiang, where former detainees accuse the Chinese government of suppressing the practice of Islam and stamping out Uyghur language and culture.
Under the new rules, all officials and police in the region must make a declaration that they are “loyal Communist Party members” and “don’t have any religious belief.” Their only faith is allowed to be “Marxism and Leninism,” and they must agree to “fight against ‘pan-halalisation’ thoroughly.”
Restrictions have long been placed on Muslims in Xinjiang, increasingly during the last few months for the basic Islamic practices of performing prayers, fasting during Ramadan, consumption of halal food, wearing of headscarves by women and growing of beards by men.
The law is being used to justify not only restrictions on Islam, but the massive securitization of Xinjiang, with armed police manning checkpoints across cities, surveillance cameras everywhere, and citizens unable to leave the region.