New Delhi. Communist government in China have demolished thousands of mosques in Xinjiang, an Australian think tank said, in the latest report of widespread human rights abuses in the restive region.
Around 16,000 mosques had been destroyed or damaged, according to an Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) report based on satellite imagery documenting hundreds of sacred sites and statistical modelling. And more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking people have been incarcerated in camps across the northwestern territory, with residents pressured to give up traditional and religious activities.
Most of the destruction had taken place in the last three years and an estimated 8,500 mosques had been completely destroyed, the report said, with more damage outside the urban centres of Urumqi and Kashgar.
Many mosques that escaped demolition had their domes and minarets removed, according to the research, which estimated fewer than 15,500 intact and damaged mosques were left standing around Xinjiang.
China has insisted that residents of Xinjiang enjoy full religious freedom. But, Beijing has been facing consistent accusations of mass human rights abuses in Xinjiang. There are reports that the Communist regime has put more than a million Uighurs and Turkic Muslims in detention camps. China has been facing serious allegations such as accusations of abuse, forced labour, forced sterilisation of women, mass surveillance and restrictions on religious and cultural beliefs, which are collectively labeled as cultural genocide by observers.
Asked about the research on Friday, China’s foreign ministry said the research institute had “no academic credibility” and was producing “anti-China reports and anti-China lies”.
“Xinjiang’s total number of mosques is more than ten times the number in the US, and the average number of mosques per Muslim person is higher than in some Muslim countries.” Wang told a regular press briefing.