China: Muslim protests over mosque 'Sinicization'

The predominantly Hui Muslim town of Nagu in China's Yunnan province saw street-fighting between residents and police over planned demolition of the dome of the locality's historic mosque. Orders were issued in 2020 to demolish the dome, which had recently been expanded, as part of President Xi Jinping's campaign for the "Sinicization" of Islam in China. The campaign mandates that mosques in what is deemed an overly "Arabic style" must be "rectified." The order for "rectification" of Nagu's 13th-century Najiaying Mosque went unenforced until May 27, when a crew of workers with cranes, scaffolds and bulldozers arrived unannounced, accompanied by some 400 riot police. Clashes ensued when residents spontaneously mobilized to defend the mosque. Authorities responded by flooding the town with up to 5,000 police and military troops, and cutting off the internet in the area. Dozens of protesters have been arrested, and authorities in Tonghai County, where Nagu is located, have issued an ultimatum for accused instigators to turn themselves in by June 6. (Bitter Winter, Al Jazeera, CNN, BBC News, The Guardian, India Today)