There has been widespread repression of Uighur and Islamic sentiments in the Western Chinese province of Xinjiang. The latest Chinese measure, according to the Reuters news agency, is a November announcement that Uighur college students will not graduate unless their political view are approved by the authorities, who admit that they are in “a life-and-death struggle” for people’s minds.
This is all incredibly similar to the brutal tactics that Stalin used in the 1930s in central Asia to try to crush people’s belief in Islam and prevent them performing traditional Muslim rites. Stalin clamped down hard on all religious practices and rites such as public prayers and fasting. Mosques were few and far between and the state-trained Ullema were considered by the public to be government stooges. Islam and its rituals went underground where they continued to flourish.