China's ruling Communist Party hardens anti-Islam stance
March 13, 2017, 6:02 p.m.
Originally published in: Haaretz on March 13, 2017, 6:02 p.m.
China's ruling Communist Party is hardening its rhetoric about Islam, with top officials making repeated warnings this past week about the specter of global religious extremism seeping into the country.
Shaerheti Ahan, a top political and legal affairs party official in Xinjiang, became the latest official from a predominantly Muslim region to warn political leaders gathered in Beijing about China becoming destabilized by the "international anti-terror situation."
Over the past year, President Xi Jinping has directed the party to "Sinicize" the country's ethnic and religious minorities, while regional leaders in Xinjiang, home to the Uighur (WEE-gur) ethnic minority, have ramped up policing amid an uptick in violence.
The government's hardening rhetoric has coincided with new security measures that activists say exacerbate a cycle of repression, radicalization and violence.