Satellite imagery shows China has destroyed 16,000 mosques in Xinjiang

Salaam Times and AFP


This photo taken on September 13, 2019, shows the remains of a Uighur cemetery in Kuche, Xinjiang, China, before workers turned it into a park. China is destroying burial grounds where generations of Uighur families have been laid to rest, leaving behind human bones and broken tombs in what activists call an effort to eradicate the ethnic group's identity in Xinjiang. [HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP]

Chinese authorities have demolished thousands of mosques in Xinjiang, an Australian think tank said Friday (September 25), in the latest report of widespread human rights abuses in the restive region.

More than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking people have been incarcerated in camps across the northwestern territory, with residents pressured to give up traditional and religious activities, say rights groups.

Chinese authorities destroyed or damaged about 16,000 mosques, according to an Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) report based on satellite imagery documenting hundreds of sacred sites and on statistical modelling.

Read the full ASPI report here.


Before and after satellite images (2013 and 2018) of the Ordam Mazar desert outpost in Xinjiang. Chinese authorities have razed the entire site, built in the 10th and 11th centuries and held sacred to Muslims in the region. [ASPI]

Most of the destruction took place in the last three years and an estimated 8,500 mosques were destroyed, the report said, with more damage outside the urban centres of Urumqi and Kashgar.

Many mosques that escaped demolition had their domes and minarets removed, according to the research, which estimated fewer than 15,500 intact and damaged mosques were left standing around Xinjiang.

If correct, it would be the fewest Muslim houses of worship in the region since the decade of national upheaval sparked by the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s.

By contrast, none of the Christian churches and Buddhist temples in Xinjiang that the think tank studied had been damaged or destroyed.

Authorities razed almost a third of major Islamic sacred sites in Xinjiang -- including shrines, cemeteries and pilgrimage routes -- said ASPI.

An AFP investigation last year found dozens of cemeteries had been destroyed in the region, leaving human remains and bricks from broken tombs scattered across the land.

The September 25 report comes a day after ASPI said it had identified a network of detention centres in the region much larger than previous estimates.

Do you like this article?

6 Comment

Comment Policy * Denotes required field 1500 / 1500

If this is true, all Islamic countries should stand against these corrupt miscreants who are committing corruption on the earth.


There is a proverb which says, when death approaches to the ant, it grows wings. Now China has gained some military and economic powers, and it wants to be the world’s superpower, but I am sure that China will take this dream to the grave, because China is the cause of killing of thousands of Muslims. As God took revenge on Russia, and it was defeated by the people of Afghanistan, China will also be inflicted with Almighty God’s wrath, and it will be destroyed.


It is a pity that we Muslims are engaged in war with each other and we call each other infidels. If Muslims were united, now China could not destroy hundreds of Muslim mosques in China and tortured Muslims.


China will face the wrath and reactions of Muslims, and the cause of the decline of China will be Muslims. The Chinese government must immediately stop killing of Chinese Muslims and change its biased policy; otherwise, Muslims of the world will take revenge of the blood of their brothers and sisters from the dirty Chinese.


All non-Muslims, including Jews and Christians, have enmity with Muslims, sacred places of Muslims, the issue of hijab, and prayer. Islam is a real religion and it is based on logics. Thousands of people from all over the world convert to Islam from other religions every year. This has made the prejudiced and anti-religious governments of the world, such as China, France, Myanmar, India and other countries, to take actions against the Muslims, persecute the Muslims and massacre them. China is also one of the fanatical infidel regimes that has been torturing and killing Muslims in the recent years and destroying the holy places of Muslims. If God is willing, He will take revenge of the oppressed Chinese Muslims from these infidels.


Nowadays Muslims are facing misfortunes and cruelties all over the world. Chinese killed Muslims in China, others killed them in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and they are still doing so. Islamic countries were destroyed and so far there is no light of reconstruction and management of systems.