China outlines plan to sinicize Islam


07 Jan 2019

China unveils five year plan to align Islam with socialism

China has come up with an outline for a five year plan that aims to sinicize Muslims living in the country by 2022.

By redefining Muslim religious practices, the plan aims to align the beliefs of Muslims with the policies of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and traditional Chinese values.

Here's what we know about it.


Representatives of local Muslim bodies discussed the plan with officials

Representatives of local Muslim bodies discussed the plan with officials

China's five year plan (2018-2022) came to light after the country's leading English news publication, the Global Times, published a report on the same.

Reportedly, representatives of local Muslim bodies from eight provinces and regions, including Beijing, Shanghai, Hunan, Yunnan, and Qinghai provinces, came together to discuss the broad outline of the plan with government officials at a conference in Beijing on Saturday.


The Chinese Islamic Association has agreed to the plan

According to a statement released on the website of the Chinese Islamic Association, an umbrella organization that claims to represent Chinese Muslims, the representatives have agreed to the five-year plan.

Further, the head of the Chinese Islamic Association said that relevant measures to sinicize Islam should be taken, including holding lectures, and providing training on core socialist values, laws, and traditional Chinese culture.

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What little we know about the plan

According to the Chinese Islamic Association's statement, the plan "thoroughly implements Xi Jinping's new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and the spirit of the National Religious Work Conference".

Other details

The plan is expected to be made public soon

The plan is expected to be made public soon

Reportedly, the outline's draft was first passed in December 2017, and has undergone subsequent revisions since then.

While the outline has been circulated among local Islamic organizations, its contents are yet to be shared with the public.

However, a public version of the plan is expected to be released soon.

Beyond that, not much is known about the plan.

The aim is to make Islam compatible with socialist society

Commenting on the development, Gao Zhanfu, the vice-dean of the Beijing-based China Islamic Institute, told the Global Times that, "Sinicization of Islam is not about changing the beliefs of Islam, habits or ideology but to make it compatible with a socialist society."


Earlier, President Xi Jinping had spoken about sinicizing religions

For those unaware, the idea of sinicizing religion is not new.

In 2015, President Xi Jinping had spoken about sinicizing the five major religions practised in China - Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Buddhism, and Daoism.

Since then, China has reportedly gone on an aggressive sinicization program, and according to the United Nations (UN), a million Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region are currently in 're-education' camps.


China, however, has denied running 're-education' camps

China, however, has denied running 're-education' camps

While several reports have claimed that the Uyghurs are being singled out and isolated, and that inmates of the camps are subjected to forced labor, abuse, and indoctrination, China vehemently denies it.

At a UN meeting in August last year, China denied running 're-education' camps, and described the facilities as mild corrective institutions that provide job training.

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Xi Jinping

Beijing-based China Islamic Institute

China Islamic Institute

Chinese Islamic Association

Chinese Muslims

Communist Party

Communist Party Of China


Gao Zhanfu

Global Times

National Congress

National Religious Work Conference

President Xi Jinping


United Nations

Uyghur Muslims

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