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Source: Index >> Culture History >> Religions

Striving against Insults and Discrimination
(Tianshannet) Updated: 2010-August-4 17:56:59

The Qing Dynasty was overthrown in the Revolution of 1911, but the successive regimes of both the Northern Warlords and the Republic practiced a policy of ethnic bias and political oppression towards Muslims. They did not acknowledge the rights of the Huis as an ethnic group deserved. These political factors led to insults and discrimination towards the Huis either orally or in publications, with the purpose of manufacturing ethnic conflicts. In this situation, Muslims all rose up to clarify any problems when they could not stand it any more. Cases of insults against Islam and the Muslims' efforts against these insults emerged endlessly.

In July of 1931, a paper entitled "The Story Why the Muslims in Southeast Asian Don't Eat Pork" by Wei Juezhong was published in the 4th issue of the 2nd volume of "New Asia" magazine, whose chief editor was Dai Jitao, a founding member of the Kuomintang, to undisguisedly insult Islam. It deeply hurt the Muslims both at home and abroad, and aroused the indignation of Huis throughout the country. They wrote to the editorial office of "Yue Hua", a Hui cultural publication, to request it to lodge a protest and make representation to it on their behalf. The principal of "Yue Hua" wrote to Dai Jitao at once to lodge a solemn protest, severely criticizing its faults and requesting it to apologize and clear it up in due form, and guarantee that they would never publish papers of this kind any more. "New Asia" magazine replied and admitted that the paper was sheer nonsense, and it was a great shame for them. In the 6th issue of the 2nd volume of "New Asia" they cleared it up.

In September of 1932, "Why Muslims Don't Eat Pork" written by Lou Zikuang, a paper that stopped at nothing to defile Islam and Muslims, was published in the 14th issue of the 1st volume of "Nanhua Literature", run by Zeng Zhongming, vice minister for Railways of the Nanjing Kuomintang government. The Huis in Shanghai filled with indignation recommended Ha Shaofu and two others to make representation to it on their behalf, requesting the office of "Nanhua Literature" to apologize and publish refuting papers of the Huis. When the news arrived in Beijing, Muslims of all circles came to a conclusion that successive cases of insult towards Islam were by no means only directed at Hui Muslims in one place or at one time, and they should unite all Huis in the entire country to make representation to the government. Soon after that they organized Islam Protection Group of the Huis in Northern China and dispatched representatives to Nanjing to present a petition, putting forwards the following requests to the Nanjing Kuomintang Government: 1. to dismiss the chief editor of "Nanhua Literature" Zeng Zhongming; 2. to order "Nanhua Literature" to stop publishing; 3. to punish Lou Zikuang, author of the paper. However, what one never expected was that "Little Pig" written by Lin Lan which contained insulting comments against Islam was published by Beixin Publishing House Shanghai just around the time when the former case had not yet been settled. Hearing this, Huis in Shanghai were infuriated, and they chose Da Pusheng and others to represent them and present a petition to Nanjing. As the "Naiihua Literature" incident had not yet been settled, the representatives of Islam Protection Group of the Huis in Northern China were still in Nanjing when they arrived. So the two delegations allied with each other and explained in detail the facts of the incidents of "Nanhua Literature" and the Beixin Publishing House to the Government, requesting a fair and just settlement. On November 8, the Nanjing Kuomintang Government declared ethnic equality and religious freedom and put an end to the incidents by ordering "Nanhua Literature" to stop publishing, punishing the writer, sealing up the Beixin Publishing House and punishing the ones who were responsible for.

In early 1936, another incident of insulting and discriminating Muslims took place in Beijing. On March 30, "The Citizen" newspaper published "Bizarre Customs", a paper that insulted Muslim women, and was reprinted by "Time Speech" newspaper soon after. It rekindled the indignation of Muslims in Beijing. Only when the two newspapers made corrections and apologized openly was the problem finally settled. "The World Daily" and "The Citizen" reprinted this paper under the title of "Hami Produces Beauty" on April 5 and 6 respectively, so it was considered to be deliberately in defiance. It aroused the public anger of Muslims. A number of Muslims fought with the staff of the two newspaper offices? resulting in bloodshed. Armed police intervened afterwards and the incident calmed down. As the impact of the incident continued to spread, the Kuomintang Government had to mediate and settle the problem. The two newspaper offices were compelled to apologize in its important new columns in big lettering for three days, and throw daylight on the whole event in "The World Daily" and "The Morning Paper". Firmly requested by Muslims, Beijing authorities also guaranteed that: 1). the municipal government would strictly prohibit insults on the Huis in accordance with the laws that had already been in practice; 2). the Beijing Journalist Association should restrict and supervise its members and would never publish papers insulting Islam, and apologize to all the mosques.

In 1947, there occurred the "Case of September 16th". "Beijing New Paper" published an anonymous paper in entitle of "Pig" to humiliate Islam. It deeply hurt Muslims and triggered great indignation of Hui Muslims. They held the "Convention on Defending Islam concerning the 'Beijing New Paper Incident'". On the next day, thousands of Hui Muslims wearing white caps marched on demonstration to the office of "Beijing New Paper" from Niujie. Ignoring the strong protest of the Muslims, some newspapers in Beijing published a paper simultaneously in the name of the Press Association to support "Beijing New Paper". The Central News Agency of the Kuomintang government also shielded it with the excuse of misunderstanding of Islamic doctrines, and it aroused even more anger from Hui Muslims. They presented a petition to the government, and by then the Beijing authorities had to acknowledge their faults. "Beijing New Paper" also made a self-criticism in the newspaper and its principal went to the Beijing Muslim Association to apologize. The municipal government reiterated its command to respect religions and prohibit insults on them. The mayor addressed Hui Muslims to show his utmost solace and put an end to the incident.

Moreover, similar incidents also occurred in other places. In November 1933, the Guangyi Publishing House in Nanchang was commissioned to sell "The Romance of Fragrant Imperial Concubine" published by Jingzhi Publishing House in Shanghai, which contained words insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. "The Interesting Hearsay of Three Kids" published in the 17th issue of "Beijing Secondary School Newsletter" in 1933 contained content humiliating Islam. In December of the same year, "Industry and Commercial Daily" in Tangshan published a paper cooking up a story that Huis practiced a custom of polyandry. On May 23,1934, "The Oriental Express" in Beijing published a paper titled "On the Throne" by Zhi Xuan, which contained words disgracing the Prophet Muhammad. On June 18 of the same year, Dacheng, Zhili and Weiwen three publishing houses put on sale "Nian Gengyao's Conquering March to the West", in which there were several comments insulting Muslims. This incident resulted in violent conflicts. Still there were other incidents of this sort: dramas that insulted Huis were played in Shanghai and Hebei, and textbooks used in these places contained content that insulted Islam; someone with evil purpose even threw pork into Muslim food shops in certain places. All these incidents mentioned above indicates that there existed ethnic inequality during the Republic Period.

(SOURCES:China Intercontinental Press)Editor: zhaoqian
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