Tuesday May 21, 2024

China deploys police, makes arrests after clashes

May 31, 2023

BEIJING: China deployed hundreds of police and made arrests in a mostly Muslim southwestern town after clashes erupted over the planned partial demolition of a mosque, witnesses told AFP. The town of Nagu, Yunnan province, recently pushed ahead with plans to raze four minarets and the dome roof of the Najiaying Mosque, a resident said on Monday, requesting anonymity.

The area is home to a sizable enclave of Hui, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group who have come under pressure in the face of a broad crackdown. On Saturday, dozens of officers wielding truncheons and riot shields repelled a crowd outside the mosque that was hurling objects at them, videos circulating on social media and the witness said.

“They want to proceed with forced demolitions, so the people here went to stop them,” a local woman who also asked not to be identified told AFP.Police have made an unspecified number of arrests over the incident and several hundred officers remained in the town as of Monday, the two witnesses said.

A notice issued Sunday by the Tonghai government -- which administers Nagu -- said it had opened an investigation into “a case that severely disrupted social management and order”. The notice ordered those involved to “immediately stop all illegal and criminal acts”, vowing to “severely punish” anyone who refuses to turn themselves in.Those who voluntarily surrender before June 6 will be treated with leniency, the notice added.

People in areas around the mosque had struggled intermittently with internet outages and other connectivity issues since the clashes, they added.Contacted by AFP on Tuesday, an official in Tonghai´s publicity department denied the internet outages, but declined to comment further.—AFP