"They want to secularise Muslims, to cut off Islam at the roots," an imam told AFP. "These days, children are not allowed to believe in religion: only in Communism and the party."
The AP reported in May about the existence of re-education camps for Muslims in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The region, which borders Gansu's west, is home to the Uyghurs, another Muslim ethnoreligious group.
According to the AP, authorities in Xinjiang "have ensnared tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of Muslim Chinese – and even foreign citizens – in mass internment camps."
A UN human rights committee heard Aug. 10 that these camps hold more than 1 million Uyghurs.
In August 2014 officials in Karamay, a city of Xinjiang, banned "youths with long beards" and anyone wearing headscarves, veils, burqas, or clothes with the crescent moon and star symbol from using public transit. That May, universities across the region banned fasting during Ramadan.
Chinese president Xi Jinping announced in October 2017 that he wants to tighten Beijing's strict government controls on religion. At the National Congress of the Communist Party, he said religions not sufficiently conformed to communist ideals pose a threat to the country's government, and therefore must become more "Chinese-oriented."
In March 2018 the Chinese Communist Party became directly responsible for government oversight of religion.
Catholics and other Christians have had their church buildings demolished in numerous Chinese provinces in recent years, including Shandong, Henan, Zhejiang, and Shaanxi.
On March, Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin, who ministers to the underground Church, loyal to Rome and not the state, was detained for refusing to concelebrate a Chrism Mass with an illicitly consecrated, state-backed bishop. He was then released but forbidden from celebrating his own Chrism Mass.