China says 'rescues' more children from
Xinjiang religious schools
Send a link to a friend
[September 15, 2014]
BEIJING (Reuters) - A sweep on
illegal religious activity in the capital of China's unruly far western
region of Xinjiang has resulted in 190 children being "rescued", along
with the detention of dozens of people, a state newspaper said on
Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people who speak a Turkic
language, has been beset for years by violence that the Chinese
government blames on Islamist militants and separatists.
Hundreds have died in violence in Xinjiang in the past 18 months,
prompting a sweeping crackdown by the government, including on
Last month the government said it had "rescued" 82 children in
Xinjiang's capital Urumqi from religious schools known as madrassas,
and that campaign appears to be continuing.
The official Legal Daily said that in recent days there had been
another sweep in Urumqi against the "three illegals" of illegal
publicity materials, illegal religious activities and illegal
A total of 85 people have been detained and 190 children "rescued",
the newspaper said, without providing further details.
Children in Xinjiang are prohibited by the government from attending
madrassas, prompting many parents who wish to provide a religious
education to use underground schools.
Exiled Uighur groups and human rights activists say the government's
repressive policies in Xinjiang, including controls on Islam, have
provoked unrest, a claim Beijing denies.
Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the exiled World Uyghur Congress, said
that he feared more people would end up being caught up in the
"China thinks that Uighurs who uphold their faith and use the
Internet are a challenge to China's rule," he said in an emailed
comment. "China's hostility will probably mean even more Uighurs
lose their freedom."
[to top of second column]
Along with trying to limit the wearing items of clothing like
headscarves and the growing of beards for men, Beijing has also come
down hard on those within the country who have sought to challenge
the official narrative of Xinjiang's unrest.
This week, prominent Uighur academic Ilham Tohti will be tried on
Tohti, an economics professor at Beijing's Minzu University who has
championed Uighur rights, was detained in January. His case has
attracted concern in the United States and Europe.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Matt Driskill)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.