Chinese Authorities Demolish Home of Uyghur Supporting Quranic StudiesApril 01, 2015
Authorities in northwestern China’s restive Xinjiang region have demolished the home of an ethnic Uyghur Muslim family that had served as an underground school for Quranic studies, according to local officials and residents.
On March 24, officials from Qarasay town in Hotan (Hetian) prefecture’s Qaraqash (in Chinese, Moyu) county ordered some 500 local villagers to watch as workers tore down the home of Mettursun Qasim to set an example for those who support unofficial religious studies, sources said.
The higher level authorities wouldn’t allow us to take photos, but ordered that we widely spread knowledge of the consequences of underground Quran teaching to the villagers.
A resident of Aral village, who spoke to RFA on condition of anonymity, said neighbors were only able to remove a sack of wheat, four bags of flour, and some bedding from the house before authorities proceeded with the demolition.
“The rest of their belongings, including their cooking utensils and curtains, ended up buried under the walls and roof,” he said.“
The officials repeatedly announced, ‘These are the consequences of disregarding government orders and supporting illegal activities,’ as the house was knocked down, so the people were afraid of revealing their pity for Mettursun Qasim.”
Qasim, a 27-year-old farmer, and his wife, 25, had been detained a month earlier for allowing the Quran studies in their home, while their three children—two of whom were students at the unofficial school—were relocated to live with their grandparents nearby.
Officers who answered the phone at the Qarasay police station did not deny that the demolition had taken place, but refused to provide details about the incident or answer questions about the detention of Qasim and his wife.
According to Turdi, the unofficial school had nine students, aged seven to 22 years old.
Police exposed the school around two weeks after classes began there in the middle of February, he said, and charged four of the students—aged 17-22—with “endangering state security” at a public trial in Qarasay on March 21.