A Muslim-majority region in Northwest China's Gansu Province on Wednesday vowed to continue the fight against a pan-halal tendency to safeguard ethnic unity and social stability in the region.
Yang Yuanzhong, Party chief of Gansu's Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, said that around 760 places selling pan-halal products, such as "halal vegetables," have been shut down during a campaign in the region.
The campaign will continue this year to safeguard the region's ethnic unity and social stability, Yang, also a deputy of the National People's Congress (NPC), told the Global Times on the sidelines of the annual meeting of top legislators.
Among Linxia's 2.18 million people, 1.3 million, or 59 percent, are Muslims, according to official data obtained by the Global Times on Wednesday. Most of the Muslims in Linxia are Hui ethnic minority people.
The Muslim-majority region has been dubbed as "China's Mecca."
The campaign strictly limits the use of the halal logo on food, and has stopped the spread of pan-halal products and services, such as "halal bathing" and "halal haircuts," Yang said.
The prefecture is also investigating disputes in the religious region, stressing that no religion or religious staff enjoys a privilege and is not bound by law, according to a local document obtained by the Global Times on Wednesday.
In the past, the rising pan-halal tendency has fueled the dislike of religions in China as some demand that things be halal which cannot really be halal and a suspected trend of Islamic rituals penetrating into secular life, especially in Linxia and Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
Ningxia will strictly regulate the market based on the official definition of halal products, including on meat, animal products and other related products, to prevent and stop the pan-halal tendency, Xu Ning, head of Ningxia's development and reform commission, told the Global Times after a panel discussion on the sidelines of the NPC meeting on Tuesday.
The Ningxia government has taken measures against the pan-halal tendency and Islamic thought influenced by theologies common in Arab nations, which is referred to as Arabization.
The Ningxia Ethnic Affairs Commission vowed in May 2017 to properly handle the pan-halal and Arabization tendencies, promoting socialist core values and placing national flags at religious sites, read a statement on the website of the Ningxia government.
For Linxia, the fight against pan-halal products goes hand in hand with its poverty-alleviation efforts, as ethnic products, tourism and labor services are the main focus of the region's industrial alleviation campaign.
In 2011, about 900,200 people lived below the national poverty line in Linxia, or more than half of the population. That was reduced to 265,000 at the end of 2017, local government said.
Newspaper headline: Pan-halal moves opposed