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China Tightens Control of Muslims and Bans Private Hajj Affairs

On October 12, the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) released the “Administrative Measures for Islamic Hajj Affairs” on its WeChat public account and announced that it will be implemented in December. According to the new regulation, except for the Islamic Association of China (IAC), the government organization of Muslims, no one else can organize Hajj activities. Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims. Hajj is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey and can support their family during their absence.

The “Measures,” consisting of seven chapters and 42 articles, specifies that Chinese citizens who believe in Islam can only participate in the activities that the IAC has organized if they want to participate in the Hajj. The activities have to be organized and planned in an orderly manner, and proceed in accordance with the law. Except for the IAC, no other organization or individual may organize Hajj activities.

The “Measures” declares that those who organize citizens’ Hajj affairs without authorization or who provide resources for illegal Hajj activities shall be punished. If a crime is committed, criminal responsibility shall be investigated and pursued.

The “Measures” also mentions that people who intend to participate in the Hajj must register in advance with the religious affairs office in the location of their household registration. After unqualified applicants are reviewed and eliminated through screening, the provincial governments will announce the province’s approved list. “Patriotism, being law-abiding, and having good character” are the top qualifications for applicants.

The “Measures” require relevant government bodies to carry out the administrative work, stop illegal Hajj activities, and also oppose religious extremism.

Source: Central News Agency, October 12, 2020