China’s campaign to suppress Islam is accelerating as authorities remove Arab-style onion domes and decorative elements from mosques across the country.
Stark changes have been observed at the main mosque in Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia province, where most of China’s Hui ethnic Muslim minority live.
The bright green onion-shaped domes and golden minarets that used to soar into the sky atop Nanguan Mosque have all been pulled down. Golden Islamic-style filigree, decorative arches, and Arabic script that before adorned the mosque have also been stripped away.
What remains is unrecognisable – a drab, gray, rectangular facility with “Nanguan Mosque” written in Chinese, as shown in photos posted online by Christina Scott, the UK’s deputy head of mission in China, on a recent trip.
“TripAdvisor suggested the Nanguan Mosque in Yinchuan well worth a visit,” Ms Scott wrote on Twitter, along with ‘before and after’ photos. “Only this is what it looks now, after ‘renovations.’ Domes, minarets, all gone. No visitors allowed either, of course. So depressing.”