Five years ago, when I considered the issue of Islamic practice in China, three things immediately came to mind: Xinjiang, restriction, and incompatibility with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). However, after a year of field research in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, this picture has diversified in my mind. Yes, issues pertaining to religious freedom in China exist in droves, but at the same time Chinese Muslims in the right place at the right time are reviving Islamic practice at an astonishing pace without significant government interference.
Recently, sprinkled amidst numerous articles that describe how Muslim activity is restrained in China, more and more material depicts CCP tolerance of Islam insofar as it aids China’s economic development and foreign policy interests. After reading a New York Times brief on Muslim fasting restrictions during Ramadan in Xinjiang, you can find an article in The Economist that says China converted hundreds of workers to Islam so they could work in Mecca on a China Railways project to build a monorail between Mecca and surrounding holy sites.
Read the entire article at Huffington Post.