September 25, 2020, 05.11 PM

If correct, it would be the lowest number of 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 were studied by the think tank had been damaged or destroyed.

ASPI also said nearly a third of major Islamic sacred sites in Xinjiang — including shrines, cemeteries and pilgrimage routes — had been razed.

Read also: Disney Under Fire for Filming Mulan Scenes in Xinjiang

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.

China has insisted that residents of Xinjiang enjoy full religious freedom.

Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said last week that there were about 24,000 mosques in Xinjiang, a number that per person was "higher than that of many Muslim countries".

Read also: President Jokowi and President Xi Jinping to Bolster Indonesia-China Ties

Friday's report comes a day after ASPI said it had identified a network of detention centers in the region much larger than previous estimates.

China has said its network of camps are vocational training centers, which are necessary for countering poverty and anti-extremism, while Wang said the institute's research on the centers was "seriously questionable". 

(Writer & Editor: TJX/ROX/GLE, Agence France-Presse)

Source: http://u.afp.com/3Rt9 

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