China is trying to pacify Islam by force, but is achieving the opposite of the stability it wants to secure, says Ian Johnson, author of The Souls of China, to Foreign Policy. “By using more force to increase stability, the government is achieving the opposite effect.”
According to Ian Johnson, a New York Times contributor and the author of The Souls of China, the government wants to limit the Abrahamic faiths that are officially recognized in China, that is, Islam and Christianity, because it sees them as too influenced by foreign ideas and trends—though Islam has a history of over 1,000 years in China, and Christianity has had a permanent presence for more than 400 years, Johnson noted.
To that end, China released new regulations in 2017 on religious organizations and their activities, including an explicit ban on any unregistered religious activities. New laws and regulations always have a gradual roll-out in China so the recent crackdowns are merely enforcement of those 2017 regulations. The “soft opening” is over, which Johnson concludes will lead to increasing conflict.
“You will have an even more pacified Islam that is moribund and controlled by the state, and a search for more authentic religious experiences through unofficial churches. By using more force to increase stability, the government is achieving the opposite effect,” he told Foreign Policy.
More in Foreign Policy. (Behind a porous firewall)
Are you looking for more stories by Ian Johnson? Do check out this list.