China has closed hundreds of mosques in northern regions of the country.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports that Chinese authorities have closed or repurposed hundreds of mosques in areas in Ningxia and Gansu provinces in the north of the country, where the largest Muslim population resides after Xinjiang province.
The Communist Party of China has long placed strict control over the activities of religious and ethnic minorities in its agenda, and since 2016, the speed and intensity of mosque closures or changes have increased.
In April 2018, Beijing issued guidelines that require government officials to tightly control the construction and layout of Islamic activities.
Satellite images of mosques in Ningxia, examined by human rights researchers, have shown that between 2019 and 2021, the domes and minarets of seven mosques were removed, and four mosques have undergone significant changes.
Hannah Tucker, a lecturer at the University of Plymouth, and David Strop from the University of Manchester, who have researched this topic, estimate that since 2020, around 1,300 mosques in Ningxia, one-third of the total registered number, have been closed.
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