moslems of the middle kingdom
01 / 2014
China is not a country often associated with Islam. Yet sources estimate that between 1 and 2% of the total population in China are Muslims, which would be around 100 million people. This means that China has more Muslims than Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria combined. Chinese Muslims have been in China for the last 1,400 years, yet they still aren’t accepted by China and there's an impression that, since the financial crisis, the outside world, and the West in particular, is not so keen to tackle China on its human rights record.
During the Cultural Revolution which started in 1966, mosques in China were damaged, demolished or closed by the communist Red Guard groups and copies of the Quran were destroyed. During that time, the government accused Muslims of holding "superstitious beliefs" and promoting "anti-socialist trends". Today, Islam is experiencing a modest revival and there are now many mosques in China. The government began to relax its policies towards Muslims in 1978, but they are still being suppressed in current China with growing frustrations resulting in the catastrophic event on the first of March 2014, now forever called “the Kunming massacre”.