The spokesman of the Islamic Association of China (IAC) on Tuesday hailed local efforts to promote ethnic unity and religious freedom in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, a region that has one-fifth of China's Hui ethnic groups.
"As a major hub for Muslims in China, the region has made remarkable efforts in sinicizing Islam," Jin Rubin, deputy chairman and spokesman of the association, told the Global Times.
Ningxia has around 2.47 million Hui people, which accounts for 36 percent of the region's population, and a majority of them believe in Islam, according to official data obtained by the Global Times.
The region has 4,391 mosques and 10,150 registered imams, which makes religious staff a significant group to promote patriotism and unity in the region, Jin said.
Ningxia has vowed to protect religious freedom through multiple measures, including the education sector. The Ningxia Institute of Socialism and Ningxia Islamic Institute have been conducting training or seminars on religious affairs.
"As many of China's imams only have a high school education background, they are eager to enrich religious knowledge to improve themselves and better serve believers and the prosperity of society," he said.
At a time of knowledge explosion, young Muslims in China are especially eager to learn about developments in the religious sector, he noted.
"China's religious freedom policy has been praised by several Arab countries, which gives us more confidence to share Chinese Muslims' stories to the world," said the spokesman, who is in charge of IAC's religious exchanges with other countries.
During the exchanges, China must firmly resist the infiltration of extremism, he noted.
"Anti-extremism has been a consensus in the Islamic world. Extremism has distorted the Islamic doctrines to serve their political agenda, and mild and inclusive ideals have always been the mainstream in the Islamic world," Jin noted.
The region has also made huge progress in ethnic works, Ningxia officials said at a panel discussion held on the sidelines of China's annual meeting of the National People's Congress.
A teacher and students hold pictures of National Emblem of China and the logo of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference to learn about the two sessions at the Guanyun Experimental Primary School in Lianyungang city, East China's Jiangsu Province on Tuesday. Photo: IC
"Party and government officials in the region regard ethnic unity as a lifeline of every work and a basis for the region's scientific development," Jin said.