The Nanfang / Blog

Xinjiang Bans Burqa in Public Spaces

Posted: 01/12/2015 10:00 am

Xinjiang, a largely Muslim autonomous region in northwestern China, has passed a controversial regulation banning women from publicly wearing the burqa in its capital, Urumqi.

State news agency Xinhua, has already spoken in support of the ban, saying: “The regulation is seen as an effort to curb growing extremism that forced Uygur women to abandon their colourful traditional dress and wear black burqas.”

The regulation comes at a time when the country’s northwest region has seen an increased number of deadly terrorist attacks, with many blaming Islamic extremists. The recent terrorist attacks in France have also fuelled the Chinese government’s fear of increased violence, wrote BBC Chinese.

In 2011, the Xinjiang government launched an RMB 7 million beautifying campaign to educate local women about proper dress codes, including abandoning veils and burqas, wrote China Ethnic Daily. Its slogan was “show your beautiful face, and loosen up your beautiful hair,” the newspaper wrote. In 2010, the state newspaper had called the veils and burqas worn by muslim Uyghur women as “a part of Uyghur tradition and a city’s beautiful view.”

Last year, Karamay, another city in Xinjiang, initiated a ban on burqas, hijabs and face veils; but, the ban in Urumqi is the first approved by Xinjiang’s People’s Congress and its legislature.

Some experts in ethnic relations were concerned that such measures could invite a backlash and demonize ethnic Uyghur groups, the report said.

France passed a similar law in 2010; a few months later, a similar regulation came into force in Belgium.

Photos: China News 


Two People Sentenced to Death for Shandong McDonald’s Cult Killing

Posted: 10/13/2014 12:07 pm

shandong cult convictions A brutal crime that shocked the nation has finally come to a conclusion as five members of an alleged cult involved in the beating death of a woman at a Shandong McDonald’s restaurant have been convicted.

READ: Woman Beaten to Death at McDonald’s for
Refusing to Give Her Phone Number

A Yantai middle court passed down the sentences. Two of the members, Zhang Fan and Zhang Lidong, were sentenced to death. Lu Yingchun was sentenced to life in prison, while Zhang Hang and Zhang Qiaolian were given prison sentences of ten years and seven years, respectively. A sixth person involved in the crime is underaged and was not put on trial.

mcdonalds attack shandong zhaoyuan cult religious restaurant

The group of six, of which includes five members of the Zhang family, belong to the religious group “Church of the Almighty God”, labelled by the Chinese press as an “evil cult”.

On May 28, they had gone to a Zhaoyuan McDonald’s restaurant looking for phone numbers of possible new recruits. When a woman named Wu refused, Zhang Fan repeatedly beat her with a broomstick, calling her a “demon” while the rest of the group watched.

READ: McDonald’s Cult Leader Gets TV Interview,
More Details of Deadly Attack Emerge

When police arrived at the scene, Zhang Fan was kicking at Wu’s body as his son kept striking her head.

In defiance of the convictions, Zhang Fan, Zhang Lidong, and Lu Ying all say they are not guilty, claiming they were simply acting in self-defense.

mcdonalds attack religious cult restaurant shandong zhaoyuanZhang Lidong said in an earlier interview that his innocence comes from his religious convictions:

Reporter: Don’t you have any consideration for the law?

Zhang Lidong: None at all.

Reporter: Aren’t you afraid of the law?

Zhang Lidong: No, because I believe in God.

After the conviction, the family of the victim decided to drop a RMB 4 million civil suit against the group.

China is officially an atheist state that tolerates many religions, except when it comes to its own Party members. However, a campaign against “evil cults” has intensified in recent years.


Photos: DV Live, Beijing Youth Report


China’s Crackdown in Xinjiang Deepens, Leaders Punished For Religious Activities

Posted: 08/21/2014 8:51 am

Muslims in Xinjiang preparing for Ramadan.

Fifteen government officials from Kashgar, China’s restive Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, have been accused of violating a number of disciplinary regulations, including practicing religion, Global Times reported on August 20.

One official was fired for violating the Communist Party’s requirement that all party members be atheist, Xinhua said. The official had taken part in fasting for Ramadan, in the Muslim Uyghur minority region. The Party is officially atheist; but its former top leaders have sometimes been seen visiting Taoist or Buddhist temples.

Earlier in July, the local government had banned students, civil servants and Communist Party members from participating in Ramadan, the report said. This hard line restriction prompted outcries from some Uyghur-rights groups, who condemned it as fueling tensions in the region. There has recently been a surge of social unrest in the area, including explosions and knife attacks earlier this year, which has led to a number of civilian deaths, reported AFP.

Despite the religious restrictions, according to a profile of the CCP from, and cited by Council on Foreign Relations, up to 25% of Party officials in some local regions of the county engage in some type of religious activity.

Another official among those punished in Kashgar was expelled from the local public security division for being”politically incorrect” and spreading audio/video containing ethnically discriminate content via WeChat, which allegedly damaged ethnic unity, Xinhua reported.

A third official received a warning and was dismissed for “holding an ambiguous attitude and inefficiently implementing counter-terrorism campaigns,” the report said. Earlier in May, a local official identified as Batur Duwamet was investigated for harbouring ambiguous attitudes towards Xinjiang’s terrorist attack. In May, a series of attacks in an open market in Xinjiang killed at least 31 people and injured more than 90 people. The government blamed the Islamist separatists seeking independence from Xinjiang for the attacks.

Photos: La Croix, Pinterest 



Cult or Persecution? Religious Group in Zhuhai Raided by Police

Posted: 08/8/2014 12:15 pm

huazang dharma raid zhuhai cult relgion

In light of the brutal murder committed at a McDonald’s in May, China appears to be acting tough on wayward religious extremist groups. However, a recent police raid on one religious group has drawn mixed reporting from media outlets inside and outside China.

On July 29, police in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province staged a coordinated raid on the businesses and living compounds of Huazang Dharma, an “evil cult” as labelled by the Chinese media. A total of 60 people were investigated in the raid in which 15 people remain in detention, reports China Daily.

The Huazang Dharma is suspected by police of committing fraud and rape, among other crimes. Police have seized church propaganda and property as they continue their investigation.

The China Daily report specifically points out that Wu, addressed as His Holiness Vairocana Xing Wu by his followers, claims to be a reincarnated deity comprised of elements of Buddhism, Zen Buddhism and other religions.

Contrary to Chinese media reports, Sinosphere of the New York Times, offers a different perspective on the police raid.

Sinosphere reports that followers of the religious group claim 50 people were detained in the raid, including 20 children. They say 18 remain in detention, Wu Zeheng among them.

As of the article’s publishing on Tuesday, it was not clear to Sinosphere why police mounted the raid on Huazang Dharma. By that point, the government had not issued any public statements about the status of Huazang Dharma, and those investigated by police during the raid said authorities did not accuse the group of being a cult.

Wu Zeheng, identified only by his surname in the Chinese report, first established the Huazang Dharma in the 1990s and has had issues with the authorities on several occasions. He was arrested in 2000 and sentenced to eleven years in prison for financial crimes, while his followers say his imprisonment has to do with an open letter he wrote calling for more democracy and transparency.

Wu’s congregation is said to be growing within China and abroad.

Photo: Sinosphere


Xinjiang Has Shunned Muslim Dress as “Not Normal” For Months

Posted: 08/7/2014 3:39 pm

muslim clothing ban xinjiang uighursThe ban on Muslim dress on public buses in Karamay City in Xinjiang was designed to help combat terrorism. But it turns out traditional clothes have been shunned for months.

The latest Karamay City ban, which we detailed yesterday, calls for an end to what it refers to as the “five types of people” who wear burqas, hijabs, face veils, any clothing that features the Muslim crescent moon and star, as well as long beards. And yet, this appears to be merely an extension of an existing policy.

As early as June 4 of this year, authorities in Xinjiang began pressuring the public to stop wearing traditional Muslim dress not just for reasons to combat terrorism, but also because it is “not normal”.

muslim clothing ban xinjiang uighurs

On June 19 of this year, the official website for the government of the Baijiantan District of Karamay announced that through a variety of measures, authorities will be initiating a crackdown on the ”five abnormal appearances”.

These “five abnormal appearances” are the same five banned from public buses in Karamay. Xinjiang authorities say the crackdown is necessary to preserve the safety of society, to facilitate better cooperation between ethnic groups, and to strengthen resistance against religious extremism. In addition to the Muslim dress ban, police are asking the public to resist the ‘three illegals’ (those who enter, work, or reside in China illegally), become civilized, and revere science.

muslim clothing ban xinjiang uighurs

Police engaged in a “stop and correct” inspection on June 12, in which they confronted citizens on the street for violating the ban. The next day the police substation in Sanping County met workers and residents of the Wuxin and Yucheng communities. There, they put up posters and informed residents that the five kinds of Muslim dress are not in fact tradition, but represent the “three illegals”.

The following is the poster that warns the public against the “five abnormal appearances”. A translation follows.

muslim clothing ban xinjiang uighurs

The Five Types of Abnormal Dress

Note: It is forbidden for women of any age to wear burqas.

Note: It is forbidden for youths, and young and middle-aged women to wear the hijab.

Face Veils
Note: It is forbidden for females of any age to wear a face veil.

Young Adults with Long Beards
Note: It is forbidden for young adults to grow long beards.

Crescent Moon and Stars
Note: It is forbidden for anyone to wear clothing featuring the crescent moon and stars.

[h/t reddit]

Photo:,, tieba


Canadian Couple Charged With Spying Were Working as Missionaries

Posted: 08/7/2014 10:35 am

kevin garrattA Canadian couple charged with stealing military secrets from China may have been arrested because of their missionary work.

Kevin and Julia Ann Garratt were operating a coffee house in Dandong, Liaoning when they were detained by Chinese authorities on Tuesday. While the Chinese media have been very quiet on the story, western media have revealed Kevin Garratt was involved with training missionaries that were sent to nearby North Korea.

Kevin Garratt performed a sermon that was later put on the website for the Terra Nova Church, reports Reuters. In the recording, Garratt could be heard addressing a South Korean-Canadian church saying:

All these people could’ve stayed in China, where it’s easier, where they could eat three meals a day, but they chose to go back – everyone of them. And 99 percent of the people we meet go back to North Korea, because they have to preach the gospel in North Korea – they have to. Because God’s compelled them to go.

While religious groups operate in China in the form of underground churches and Bible study groups, they are tolerated by authorities. However, religion is outright banned in North Korea where proselytizing is severely punished.

And yet, Garratt seemed to accept the risks involved. In his address last year, he said:

North Korea, as you know, is very oppressive, it’s very challenging, they desperately need hope and we get this very special privilege of working with some of these incredible people in North Korea.

As reported in the Globe and Mail, it may make sense for the Chinese government to close down cafes if missionaries were “a big annoyance of a good friend of yours and it wasn’t that big of a deal to you,” one source said.

Photo: Globe and Mail


Xinjiang Bars Muslims from Public Transport to Ensure Safety

Posted: 08/6/2014 1:33 pm

headdress busIf you’re a Muslim, you may wear a headdress or veil, have a long beard, or display the crescent moon and star, a symbol of Islam. But if you do any of those traditional things, there’s a good chance you’ll be facing discrimination in the Xinjiang city of Karamy over the next couple of weeks.

From August 5th to the 20th, anybody in Karamay City wearing face veils, niqab, burqas, clothing bearing the crescent and star or anyone with a long beard will be prevented from using public transportation, reports Caijing.

The crackdown comes at the same time an athletic competition will be held in the city for the 13th year in a row. As explained in the report, the temporary ban will be instituted to ensure public safety during the games. Bus drivers are to notify police of anyone not complying with the temporary ban. As well, an inspection policy will make spot checks of all baggage carried on board public transportation.

Xinjiang has experienced violence in recent weeks from what state media describe as terror attacks. On August 3, state media reported a “gang” killed 37 civilians, while 59 attackers were killed by security forces. In July, tensions were again raised when students were forced to break their fast during Ramadan.


Photo: Pittsreport


Wife Beater and Crazy English Founder Li Yang Converts to Buddhism

Posted: 07/30/2014 9:06 am

li yang buddhismNotorious Chinese internet personality, news maker and founder of Crazy English Li Yang has converted to Buddhism, reports Beijing Youth Daily.

Li Yang became a Buddhist at the Shaolin Temple located in Dengfeng, Henan Province where he was bestowed his new Buddhist name, Yan Yi.

As part of his conversion, Li announced his intention to help the temple learn English to better help them connect with the outside world, and donated 10,000 English books.

kim lee li yang domestic abuse

Long known as the charismatic leader of Crazy English, a company that encouraged its English students to actively “lose face” in order to conquer this foreign language, Li gained infamy when his Amercian wife and Crazy English co-founder Kim Lee posted pictures online in 2011 that exposed her as a victim of domestic abuse, something Li vehemently denied until he finally admitted it online.

Among many quotable statements Li made to the press about beating his wife, he said he did it because he believed ”a man’s career is more important than his family,” and he needed to “educate” her, something that would be supported by the Chinese Communist government.

Li’s conversion to Buddhism isn’t the first time he has publicly changed religions. When Kim Lee was actively trying to divorce him, Li refused to sign the divorce papers, citing his conversion to the Muslim religion in November of yang

Kim Lee was eventually granted a divorce, winning a US $1.9 million settlement and becoming a role model for battered women in China.

Photo: jiangsu.china, sohu,


The People’s Daily Posts “Must Learn” Bible Stories Online

Posted: 06/30/2014 1:20 pm

classic Western stories Bible Old TestamentsThe facts, first: China is an atheist state as governed by Communist Party members who are not officially not permitted to have any religious beliefs. Religions that are practiced in China are done so without the support or endorsement of the CCP. While China is home to many people of various spiritual beliefs, it’s usually something that is done privately. Religion is something that is not usually discussed in television, film or on Weibo.

And yet, this weekend saw this post from none other than the Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, the People’s Daily:

classic Western stories Bible Old Testaments

The post reads: Save this (to your bookmarks)! 16 must-learn classic Western stories: 1. Pandora’s Box 2. Noah’s Ark 3. Ivory Tower 4. (The Story of) Waterloo 5. Crocodile Tears 6. Judas’ Kiss 7. Garden of Eden 8. The Forbidden Fruit 9. Domino 10. The Sword of Damocles 11. Muse 12. Riddle of the Sphinx 13. Pygmallion 14. Aegis’ Cow 15. Achilles’ Heel 16. Uncle Sam
…of these 16 famous classic Western stories, how many do you know? Learn from the screenshots (below)!

The Weibo account of the People’s Daily believes these Western stories are essential reading for all of its subscribers. Among the items are four Bible stories from the Old Testament.

So, without further ado, see if your Western knowledge compares to a People’s Daily reader! The following are translations of the People’s Daily post by The Nanfang:

classic Western stories Bible Old Testaments

Noah’s Ark

Originates from the “Holy Bible”. The Lord was very sad from the sins that mankind had committed, and so decided to use a flood to anhilitate mankind. Noah was a righteous man. The Lord decided to let him live, and so commanded him to build a boat in order to escape the disaster. After forty nights of flooding, all life (on Earth) was engulfed by the flood except for Noah and his family as well as some of the animals. This story is one of savior during a disaster.

classic Western stories Bible Old TestamentsThe Kiss of Judas

Judas was one of Jesus Christ’s 12 trusted disciples as told in the Bible. Even though Jesus had won the popular support of the people after giving his gospel, He had become the target of hatred from the old priests of the Hebrew religion. They used 30 coins to buy Judas’ loyalty, and needed his help to positively identify Jesus. When they arrived at the Garden of Gethsemane to capture Jesus, Judas pretended to greet Jesus by embracing and kissing him. Jesus was then arrested, and was later crucified on the cross. People use “the kiss of Judas” as a way to describe shameful acts of betrayal.

classic Western stories Bible Old TestamentsThe Garden of Eden

Originates from the Holy Bible. The Lord made a garden on a bountiful plain in the east. In this garden were fruit trees and every type of bird and animal. The Lord made the first man, Adam, act as a protector to this garden. In order to alleviate his loneliness, the Lord took a rib from Adam’s body in order to create a companion for him: Eve, the first woman. The two lived a carefree life without worry. People now use the Garden of Eden to describe a paradise for humanity.

The Forbidden Fruit

The Forbidden Fruit is a fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil from the Garden of Eden. God warned Adam and Eve that though they were allowed to eat fruit from any tree in the garden, they weren’t allowed to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. Afterwards, Eve was lured by the Devil (as the serpent) and ate the Forbidden Fruit together with Adam, ignoring the commands of the Lord. From then on, they understood the difference between good and evil, could distinguish truth from lies, but would know shame. The Lord drove them away from the Garden of Eden. And so the Forbidden Fruit is used to describe something that is forbidden but sought after.

classic Western stories Bible Old Testaments

Bonus story: Uncle Sam

The nickname of the USA was created in 1812 during the war between the US and England. At that time, an honest and capable meat packer businessman in New York was warmly regarded as “Uncle Sam” by everyone. This man served as the mandatory food inspector for the armies in New York and New Jersey, and would place a seal upon every barrel of meat and wine received by the armies. People discovered that every barrel of meat would have the markings “E.A.–U.S.“ on it. E.A. was the name of a military fire contractor, while U.S. is an acronym of the United States (of America). Coincidentally, “Uncle Sam” and “United States” share the same contraction, and so people started referring to the United States as “Uncle Sam”. US citizens use Uncle Sam as as way to personify the honesty, reliability, and durability that epitomizes the patriotism that the American people are so proud of. In 1961, the US Congress officially recognized “Uncle Sam” as a symbol of the American people.

The lessons have received mixed feedback from netizens. Some people welcomed the chance to learn more about foreign cultures, while others were suspicious and questioned the need to learn these “must-learn” Western stories:

[laugh.emo] I have heard the story of Uncle Sam from a teacher who told it to us. The teacher was a big boy that loved to joke around. At the time I thought he was still joking. Afterwards, I still love all that kidding around, and didn’t think that it was something real!

Increase my knowledge

Learn a little more everyday [transfer.emo]

Knowledge will change your fate.

With these, I can become like a learned scholar!

(Learn) a story every day, can do them all in succession within 16 days, thank you.

Why must we know these?

Increase my position (by learning these)!

Would I die if I didn’t know these?

Perhaps any suspicions of the west’s cultural infiltration through Bible stories can be dispelled by the support of the Global Times, which also thought the idea of learning Bible stories was “essential” and important enough to share with its Weibo subscribers as well:

classic Western stories Bible Old Testaments

Photos: People’s Daily, Global Times


Church of the Almighty God Members on Trial in Guangzhou

Posted: 06/12/2014 1:36 pm

church of the almighty god cult religionPRD residents shocked at the beating death of a Shandong woman by a religious group named the Church of the Almighty God may be surprised to hear they are well-entrenched in Guangzhou.

Seven people belonging to the cult were prosecuted at the Haizhu District Procuratorate on June 6, reports the Procuratorate Daily. Arrested in January of this year, alleged leader Bai Xiujie and six group members were charged with “undermining law implementation through a cult organization”.

Reports have been unclear as to the fate of the defendants and what punishments they may face.  

READ: Crackdown on “Cult” Has Begun,
Guangdong Woman Gets 5 Years in Jail

Described as an “evil cult” by the Chinese media, the Church of the Almighty God has been classified as an illegal group by the state.

The Church of the Almighty God has had groups based in the Baiyun and Haizhu districts of Guangzhou since March 2013. Despite the ban, the group continues to congregate and distribute literature. Police have seized 106 documents, 75 books and 133,000 electronic files related to the group.

As China Topix reports, Church of the Almighty God was first established in the 90s in Henan by Zhao Weishan. The cult claims Jesus Christ has been resurrected through Yang Xiangbin, the wife of the cult’s founder, who fled to the US in 2000.


Photo: Hexun

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