Muslims in China: A Long History of Oppression


China, with its illegal occupation of the largely Muslim populated area, has captured the reserves of petroleum, coal and uranium in that region. It oppresses the Muslims residing in this area from time to time and has almost put an end to Muslim communal life. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed till now, writes DR. MUHAMMAD NAJEEB QASMI.


China is once again in the headlines, for, out of its narrow-mindedness, it has recently issued its oppressive ordinance for Muslims to handover the copies of the Holy Qur’an and prayer mats to the government authorities.

History is witness to the fact that China has always tried to conceal its oppressive rule from the world. Therefore, keeping with the trend, this time also it has blamed the world media for misquoting.

The world, in general, and the Chinese people, in particular, cannot forget the oppressive policies of China. The eyewitnesses to the incident that occurred on 3-4 June 1989, when the students had demonstrated at the famous square of Beijing against the Chinese government, using their legal right, are still alive.

Chinese soldiers at the behest of the Government killed thousands of peaceful demonstrators belonging to its own nation using guns and tanks. Chinese occupation of Taiwan and Tibet is a clear evidence of its oppression. Likewise, China has also occupied Xichen which belongs to India and has been creating troubles on borders out of its stubbornness.

A few months back, there had been big tension between China and India due to China’s tough stand. There has always been plenty of cases of Chinese oppression against Muslims, but news do not cross the Great China Wall stretching over an area of two thousand kilometres in length.

It is the social media that brings the news of oppressions against Muslim from time to time to the world. History is witness since hundreds of years that the Chinese have oppressed the Muslims brutally.

Let us have a look at the conditions of Muslims in China, for the messenger of peace, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim” (Bukhari). Likewise, Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said:

“The believers, in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy, are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever.” (Muslim)

China may be divided into two parts depending on the Muslims population; the area of Eastern Turkistan bordering with Magnolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Tibet. This region is now called Xinjiang which was under Muslims rule for a long time but China occupied it unlawfully. This area was largely populated by Muslims of Turkish origin. The capital of this region is Urumqi while Kashgar is the second largest city.

In addition to this, there are Muslims who live in various parts of China other than the Eastern Turkistan, who are less in number. In total, there are about 100 Millions of Muslims in China, while the government quotes this number at 30 Million only, which is contrary to the fact. If we look at the unofficial population of Muslims, it will outnumber the whole Muslims populations in Egypt which is the largest of the Arab countries in terms of population.

About 1400 years ago, in the 29th year of Hijrah, the message of Islam reached China when the third Caliph of Islam Usman bin Affan (ra) sent a delegation to China to introduce Islam. Thereafter, other delegations were also sent over the period of time.

Meanwhile, Muslims also went to China for commerce and trade. This way in some areas of China, people had accepted Islam in the early years of the advent of Islam.

Later, in the majority of Chinese regions Muslims existed. Eastern Turkistan (Xinjiang), which is under the Chinese occupation till date, was conquered by Qutaiba bin Muslim al-Bahli in the year 93-94 AH in the ruling period of Umayyad Caliph Walid bin Malik (May Allah have mercy on him). Turkistan literally means land of Turkish people. Historically, Turkistan has been divided into Western and Eastern Turkistan.

Western Turkistan is largely Muslim populated area which was under Russian occupation and later gained independence from it in the year 1991, while Eastern Turkistan is still under Chinese occupation. This area was captured by Chang government in the middle of the eighteenth century and named it Xinjiang.

The Turkish population in this area is declining slowly, despite the fact that their population has been 98 % of that area’s population. This is the largest province of China whose population is about 30 Million. Given its resources of petroleum, coal and uranium, China’s economy and military depend on this area.

Eastern Turkistan (which is under Chinese occupation today) was ruled by Muslims for a long period of time and still has a large population of Muslims. However, in 1644 due to Manchu family’s capturing of this area, Muslims’ conditions worsened.

In 1648, for the first time, Muslim demanded religious freedom which was their legal right. This led to the killing of thousands of Muslims. In 1760, China captured the Eastern Turkistan and killed thousands of Muslims. Muslims regained this area many times over the years. In 1875 the tyrannous Chinese killed Muslims in large numbers and captured the area once again.

In 1931, Muslims again demonstrated for Muslims’ rights due to Chinese Government’s oppression against Muslim women. This campaign spread in the whole area and the Muslims conquered this area once again in 1933. However, China with Russian assistance captured that area once again killing thousands of Muslims.

In 1944, people once again demonstrated for the freedom of this area, but China with Russian assistance again foiled this movement. In 1946, under the leadership of Masood Sabri it gained partial freedom, but in 1949, China again captured this area after a long battle with Muslims. In some areas, the fighting lasted for twenty days consecutively.

In 1949 when the Communist party took over the reigns of power it imposed a religious ban on Muslims in this area. Religious schools were closed and mosques were converted into the residences of soldiers. The local language was banned and the Chinese language was forced on them. All Islamic rites, pertaining to marriage etc., were banned.

The communists set the sole target of putting an end to the instructions contained in the Holy Qur’an, while the Qur’an was sent down for the guidance of mankind. Despite the Chinese continuing with their oppression, Muslims in this area try to abide by the teachings of Islam.

In 1966, when Muslims tried to perform prayer of Eid-ul-Adha in the city of Kashgar, the Chinese army objected to it, opened fire and killed thousands of Muslims. This was followed by upheavals in the whole province and the Chinese army, in keeping with the previous trend, killed Muslims mercilessly. In this incident, about 75,000 Muslims were killed.

China, with its illegal occupation of the largely Muslim populated area, has captured the reserves of petroleum, coal and uranium. It oppresses the Muslims residing in this area from time to time. It has almost put an end to Muslim communal life. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed till now.

Recently Muslims have been asked to handover the copies of the Holy Qur’an and prayer mats to the Government, depriving them of even performing prayers at their homes individually, which is against international law.

Nowadays, China has a large population of atheists. They believe that like cats, dogs and monkeys there is no purpose for human life. A person can oppress anyone as he pleases, steal the money of another person, kill anyone as he likes, believing that there is no life after death and that man will not be held accountable for his deeds.

They should make use of their sense that even when a small task we perform is not without any purpose; and we need a power to run our home, family, district and country, then how come that this world can run on its own. Rising and setting of the sun on time, the twinkling of millions of stars, the existence of water within two-third of the earth’s mass, blowing of winds etc. – how can all these happen without any power? Where have many kinds of reserves in the earth come from? Where has the earth gained its fertility from? How and from where have the human being come into existence? Why do human beings die? What is the soul all about? What sort of thing is the soul which when it departs from the body, the eye cannot see, the tongue cannot speak and the hands and legs cannot move?

In addition, when we observer that everything in this world perishes then we should logically conclude that this world has to come to an end someday. There must be some purpose behind existence of such a huge system. How come that this huge system runs on its own?

Our Creator, Lord and Sustainer says:

“As to those who reject Faith, it is the same to them whether thou warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe. Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur).” (The Qur’an, 2: 6-7)

Muslims should not lose hearts, for Allah’s help is with us. We should implement the Islamic Shariah in our life and pray for all the Muslims living in various parts of the world in general and for the Muslims of China in particular.

About YMD

Past Issues