Showing posts tagged islam

和田 暴乱 (Hotan rebellionHétián bàoluàn) was a series of incidents that took place in July 2011 in the Xinjiang city of Hotan. As mentioned in the previous post, the northwestern province of Xinjiang is home to many Uyghurs—an ethnic minority group in China, many of whom follow Islam—and of whom continue to suffer great hardships and discrimination at the hands of the dominant Han majority, despite the governments efforts.

However, sometimes the government’s efforts are less than stellar: for instance, in 2011, the government sought to dissuade Uyghur women from wearing burqua-like black veiled-clothing, which they saw as radicalizing the population. This campaign was cited by some Uyghurs as what incited an allegedly suppressed protest in July 2011 and eventually led to a violent attack on a police station in Hotan later that month, where 18 Uyghurs wielding knives and homemade explosives killed two security guards before taking hostages. The attackers were eventually overpowered, and those who weren’t killed were captured and sentenced to death.

In a break from our usual series of highlighting words blocked from searching on Weibo, for the next two days I’ll be looking more deeply at the keywords on chat messenger app LINE’s “bad words” list. For more about this series, see this introductory post.

喀什 (Kashi or Kashgar / Kāshí) and 库车 (Kuqa / Kùchē) are Chinese cities, both located in Xinjiang province, home to a large percentage of China’s Muslim and Uyghur population.

Why it is blocked: On August 4, 2008, sixteen Chinese police officers were killed in Kashgar. Though there are conflicting reports, it was reported by state media that two terrorists drove a truck into a group of officers then attacked them with grenades and machetes. The gruesome attack, just days before the start of the Beijing Olympics, drew wide attention, with some pinning the blame on Xinjiang separatists.

Six days later, violence rocked another Xinjiang city, Kuqa. Again, Xinjiang sepratists were blamed, with several committing suicide while detonating their bombs.

Kuqa has been blocked since at least November; Kashgar’s block is more recent and clearly related to the rioting on Tuesday that left 12 dead, just the latest in a number of incidents in the region. [Status of “Kashgar” - 11/19/12: unblocked; 3/2/12: blocked. Status of “Kuqa” - 11/25/12: blocked; 3/2/12: blocked]

馬明心 (Ma Mingxin) was a Dungan Sufi master. During the Qing Dynasty, he established the Jahriyya Sufi order in China, which was in opposition to the Khufiyya Sufis.

Why it is blocked: Jahriyya was considered to be a subversive religion in China, and after one of Ma’s disciples Su Sishisan (苏四十三) led an armed anti-government uprising, Ma was arrested and beheaded. [Status - 1/9/12: blocked; 2/5/12: unblocked]

伊斯兰 (Islam / Yīsīlán) is the monotheistic religion articulated by the Qur’an. Adherents live in every region in China. The highest concentrations are found in the northwest provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, and Ningxia.

Why it is blocked: Though the state government is by all accounts atheist, the Chinese constituition supports “freedom of religious belief” and officially sanctions five religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism. Of these, Islam is the only one that is blocked on Weibo, likely due to tension in regions like Xinjiang, where Uyghur Muslims represent roughly half the population.