China denies issuing order to Muslims to hand in all copies of Quran


BEIJING: China has dismissed as “groundless rumours” the reports that authorities were seizing copies of the Quran and prayer rugs in Xinjiang as part of a crackdown against extremists in the restive province.

Asked about media reports circulating in the province, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters that the situation in Xinjiang was “sound” and local people there are working and living in peace. “We hope relevant parties refrain from making groundless allegations and rumours,” he said.

Reports in the official media said that the Chinese officials had tightened security measures in Xinjiang, apprehending militants of the separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) ahead of the ruling Communist Party of China’s meeting starting on October 18 in which Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to get a second term.

Officials have installed new high-tech body security scanner for road security checks to enhance security ahead of the Congress. Xinjiang, bordering Azad Kashmir and Afghanistan, is located in China’s northwestern region.

China is battling ETIM militants in Xinjiang, who reportedly have links with ISIS. The province has seen protests by majority Uygur Muslims over increasing settlements of the Han community from other parts of China.