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China to crack down on 'hyping' of halal products to contain 'pan-Islamism'

Author: Shailaja Neelakantan
Publication: The Times of India
Date: November 28, 2016
URL:   http://m.timesofindia.com/world/china/China-to-crack-down-on-hyping-of-halal-products-to-contain-pan-Islamism/articleshow/55664925.cms

Communist China continues its anti-Muslim campaign and this time its target is halal food, which the administration believes "spreads pan-Islamist tendencies in the market", the country's state-run media reported.

Halal food is food prepared according to Islamic law, as defined in the Koran. Islam lays down how meat that is to be consumed is slaughtered and that's called 'halal' meat. China has a Muslim population of more than 23 million, mostly living in the country's north and northwest.

And China will "seriously address the problem of hyping up, twisting and expanding the halal food concept," a senior religious affairs official said on Saturday. This, "amid worries that religion is intruding more into secular life in the country", wrote Global Times.

Chinese Muslims should oppose religious extremism, said Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, on Saturday, according to state news agency Xinhua. He added that the development of Islam in China "should stick to socialism with Chinese characteristics."

This latest move against the "hyping" of halal, comes on top of an "anti-terrorism regulation" imposed in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China in August. According to the regulation, those who have "twisted the concept of halal," which usually only applies to food, "and have expanded the concept to all aspects of social life," will be fined up to 10,000 yuan ($1,446) or detained for five to 15 days.

"By elaborately expanding the concept of 'halal," some foreign forces are selling their malicious ideas of pan-Islamism and desinicization in a bid to sabotage China's national security, social stability and unity among ethnic groups", said Xiong Kunxin, professor of ethnic studies at Beijing's Minzu University of China, to Global Times.

Wang, the director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, said that while Muslims' beliefs and customs should be respected, religious interference in the fields of politics, justice and education is "intolerable". Profesor Xiong said that any violations that affect "normal social order, be they committed by either religious or non-religious individuals, should be sanctioned by law. "

In April, another Communist Party of China official also railed against halal products,

"The government must be vigilant to the pan-Islamist tendencies in the market, like halal water, halal toilet paper, halal toothpaste and halal cosmetics," Li Jianhua, was quoted as saying by during a religious work meeting.
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