Full Text: Freedom of Religious Belief in Xinjiang
Updated: 2016-06-02 16:46
III. Satisfying Believers' Normal Religious Requirements
The Xinjiang government attaches equal importance to administration and services. While legally administrating religious affairs, it endeavors to satisfy believers' normal religious requirements.
Xinjiang now has 24,800 venues for religious activities, including mosques, churches, lamaseries and temples, with 29,300 clerical personnel. Among these, 24,400 mosques have 29,000 clerical personnel; 59 Buddhist temples have 280 clerical personnel; one Taoist temple has one cleric; 227 Protestant churches (meeting grounds) have 26 clerical personnel; 26 Catholic churches (meeting grounds) have 27 clerical personnel; and three Orthodox churches (meeting grounds) have one cleric. There are eight religious colleges, including the Xinjiang Islamic Institute and Xinjiang Islamic School. There are also 112 religious organizations, among which, at the autonomous region level, there are two organizations, namely, an Islamic association with a committee for Islamic affairs, and a Buddhist association; at the level of prefectures and prefecture-level cities there are 14 Islamic associations, three Buddhist associations and one Protestant Three-self Patriotic Movement committee; and at the level of county and county-level cities there are 88 Islamic associations, two Buddhist associations and two Protestant Three-self Patriotic Movement committees.
The training of clerical personnel has been strengthened. Trainee clerical personnel study under clerical personnel, at scripture schools (classes or workshops), at colleges, and by other means. A training system has been established and improved to provide systematic training programs for in-service clerical personnel. Training courses on scripture interpretation or for people in charge of management and organization of venues for religious activities are run to enhance the level of self-management of religions organizations. Since 2001 the State Administration for Religious Affairs has held 12 training classes on Islamic scripture interpretation, training more than 500 clerical personnel for Xinjiang. The Xinjiang Buddhist Association holds regular training classes on Buddhist knowledge for clerical personnel. The government of Xinjiang regularly organizes clerical personnel to go to inland provinces for study and exchanges, so as to broaden their horizon and enhance their capabilities. The central government helps the Xinjiang Islamic Institute to extend buildings, improve the teaching conditions and expand enrollment.
Channels for believers to gain religious knowledge have been expanded. Religious classics and books have been translated and published, including the Koran and Selections from Al-Sahih Muhammad Ibn-Ismail al-Bukhari, in the Uygur, Han Chinese, Kazak and Kirgiz languages. The New Collection of Waez's Speeches series and the magazine China's Muslims are compiled and published, with a total circulation of over 1.76 million. Religious classics on Buddhism and Christianity are published and distributed. From 2014 to 2015, Xinjiang has distributed 43 Islamic publications in different languages of minority ethnic groups, totaling over one million copies, including over 230,000 copies of new Koran and over 29,000 copies of Basic Knowledge of Islam, both in the Uygur language. The China Islamic Association provides a Uygur-language version of its website. The Xinjiang Islamic Association publishes the magazine Xinjiang Muslims in the Uygur, Han Chinese and Kazak languages, providing free copies to mosques and clerical personnel. It has also opened the "Xinjiang Muslims" website in the Uygur and Han Chinese languages. Religious organizations hold training classes on religious knowledge and etiquette for believers.
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