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Religion in China
Uighur Shops Forced to Sell Booze, Cigarettes

It’s not a crackdown, per se: Authorities in China’s restive Xinjiang province are ordering all shops to sell alcohol and cigarettes in a move designed to cause trouble for the Muslim Uighurs who make up a majority of the population there. Radio Free Asia reports:

Last week, authorities in Laskuy township, in Hotan (in Chinese, Hetian) prefecture’s Hotan county, issued an announcement in the town seat of Aktash village that “all restaurants and supermarkets in our village should place five different brands of alcohol and cigarettes in their shops before [May 1, 2015].”

In addition to directing owners to create “eye-catching displays” to promote the products, the April 29 announcement stated that “anybody who neglects this notice and fails to act will see their shops sealed off, their business suspended, and legal action pursued against them.”

Signed by the Aktash village Party Committee of Laskuy Township, the notice stated that the order had been handed down “from the top echelons of [China’s ruling Communist Party], in order to provide greater convenience to the public.”

The Party has been trying to “weaken religion” in the region after a string of violent incidents between Uighur extremists and local security forces. Its uneasy relationship with the Uighurs is due in part to Beijing’s worries that radical Islam will spread through the population via their connections to nearby Pakistan and Afghanistan. In March, Chinese authorities issued a warning about Uighurs who are joining ISIS.

As we’ve said before about tactics similar to this recent injunction (like banning Ramadan), in the long run such blanket oppression is likely to have the opposite effect to the one intended. Instead of “weakening religion,” it will stoke the radicals, offend the moderates, and put off Pakistan, whom Beijing has long wanted to do more to clamp down on Islamists.

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  • fastrackn1

    Anything that PO’s the Musloids is a good thing, but unfortunately it is likely to have the opposite effect as stated.

  • qet

    The Chinese are proving no more adept than the West at managing Muslims. But in China’s case, the customary excuses of the Western Left for Muslim belligerence–colonialism, imperialism, hegemony, white hatred of brown-skinned peoples–has no application. And surely the Chinese–themselves oppressed, imperialized, hegemonized by white Western racists–should be expected to sympathize with their Muslim malcontents, right? But here they are provoking them in a manner that would make Pamela Geller proud!

    • FriendlyGoat

      Please don’t imagine that everyone in the “Western Left” has sympathy for Islam as a philosophy or that we believe Islam would be better if only the Western powers had treated it better. Some of us understand that it’s a crock all by itself.

      That said, China is in “crock-land” too with this particular directive for stores to sell booze or be closed.

      • qet

        I don’t, FG, any more than I believe that all Muslims are bloodthirsty fanatics. But, it is the fanatics, the true believers, who seem to dominate the public discourse, who seem to represent their respective “sides,” who appear as the “opinion leaders” of modern times. So when I refer to the Left, I mean the visibly and audibly active Left. The Left as found in the pages of Salon, WaPo, Think Progress, and university faculty. I treat that Left as a caricature because it has made itself into a caricature.

        • FriendlyGoat

          I do know that some on the left have excused Islam in various ways, so I never miss a chance to point out that a few of us liberals think Islam is one of the least liberal ideas on earth and ought to be in the dust heap of history.

  • Dale Fayda

    Here is a link to an outstanding article by Daniel Greenfield, describing the Left’s infatuation with Islam:

    Definitely worth a look, in my humble opinion.

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