BEIJING: A 27-year-old Chinese man has been detained for making derogatory remarks against Muslims in the comments' section of an online video that allegedly showed Muslim residents vandalising a restaurant in China's northern Hebei Province.
The man, surnamed Chen, will be detained for 15 days and fined 1,000 yuan (USD 145). He has been accused of making derogatory comments against Muslims, police in Baoding's Baigou township said yesterday. Local officials said in a statement that the restaurant, Zaizai Music and Barbecue Bar, was using the "halal" chopsticks and had pork on the menu.
The video posted online showed some people attacking the restaurant and one person throwing a chair at the restaurant's window, state-run Global Times reported today.
Few netizens posted photos of the chopsticks online and these were "maliciously" used by some people whose comments hurt the feelings of Muslims and incited conflicts between people from different ethnic groups, the report said. The photos and comments have led to aggressive behaviour among some residents, the report quoted the statement as saying.
The restaurant is non-halal and has been asked to suspend business for rectification. Officials did not say when the restaurant was attacked or if the perpetrators have also been detained.
Xiong Kunxin, a professor of ethnic studies at Beijing's Minzu University of China, said that public products and services should not be differentiated in accordance with religion as long as they do not violate Islamic doctrines. He gave the example of the Anhui University of Science and Technology, which set up shower facilities exclusively for Muslim students in September 2016.
The university, however, reversed the decision after encountering a flood of criticism online. China has over 21 million Muslims accounting for over 1.6 per cent of total population. Half of Muslims Turkik speaking Uygurs in the restive Xinjiang province. They are of Turkik origin and the province has witnessed widespread violent attacks in the last few years.
The Uygurs were restive over the large-scale settlements of Hans from other provinces. China says most domestic acts of terrorism were planned and perpetrated by separatist East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an Al-Qaeda backed militant outfit fighting for separation of Xinjiang from China.
Besides Uygurs, China has a substantial population of Mandarin speaking Hui Muslims who are natives of Ningxia province.