Men gather in a park in China’s Linxia, Gansu province, home to a large population of ethnic minority Hui Muslims, February 1, 2018. Picture taken February 1, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Martina
By Michael Martina
GUANGHE, China (Reuters) – For some in China’s ethnic Hui Muslim minority here, a recent ban on young people engaging in religious education in mosques is an unwelcome interference in how they lead their lives.
Their big fear is the Chinese government may be bringing in measures in this northwestern province of Gansu that are similar to some of those used in the crackdown on Uighur Muslims in the giant Xinjiang region further to the west.
Well-integrated into society and accustomed to decades of smooth relations with the government, many Hui have watched with detachment as authorities have subjected Xinjiang to near-martial law, with armed police checkpoints, reeducation centres, and mass DNA collection.
But in January, education officials from the local government in Guanghe county, which is a heavily-Muslim area, banned children from attending religious education during the Lunar New Year break. That lasts for several weeks around the week-long public holiday period that started on Thursday.