Among Uyghurs, China aims to ‘meld Islam with Confucianism’

Chinese officials meet to further plan to ‘Sinicize Islam’ and bind Muslims in China even closer to the state.
In late July, a group of Chinese government officials and academics met in Urumqi to discuss how Xinjiang was implementing a national plan to “Sinicize” Islam.
The officials did not bring up the religious sites China has demolished, or the Islamic books it has burned, or the Uyghurs it has “re-educated” in concentration camps for any suggestion of Islamic belief, according to a Xinhua News agency summary of the event. Those actions proceeded under separate Chinese Communist Party plans.
But the plan they were responsible for, a five-year work outline launched in 2018, had not been fully executed: Islam itself needed more engineering, they said.
Specifically, China needed to do more to “meld Islam with Confucianism.” To achieve this, it needed to release a new translated and annotated Chinese Qur’an aligned with the “spirit of the times.”
“Sinicizing Islam in Xinjiang should reflect the historical rules of how society develops, through the consolidation of political power, the pacification of society, and the construction of culture,” said Wang Zhen, a professor at China’s Central Institute of Socialism, the event’s sponsor
The institute is part of Communist Party’s United Front Work Group, which controls Chinese religious affairs. It produced the Sinicization plans.
Religion viewed as threat
The Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, has long viewed religion – and its suggestion of any power above – as a threat to its primacy.
Over the decades, it has tended to persecute Uyghur Muslims in similar ways, under different propaganda slogans, with increasing intensity.
32-point plan
Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping first mentioned “Sinicizing” religion in China in a 2015 speech. He mentioned Sinicizing Islam specifically in 2017.
By 2018, the party had drawn up national plans for “Sinicizing” each of the country’s three major monotheistic religions: Protestantism, Catholicism and Islam, to be implemented over the next five years.
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