Chinese officials have shut down three mosques for conducting 'illegal religious education' amid an intensifying crackdown on religious activities in the country.
The mosques, located in Weishan county in south-west China's Yunnan province, were raided by more than 100 police officers on Saturday, according to reports.
Videos of the raid were released on Twitter by independent organisation Documenting Oppression Against Muslims (DOAM), which purportedly show Hui Muslim worshippers struggling with uniformed police officers as they resisted the shutdown of the mosques.
Another clip shows policemen dragging and shoving worshippers away from a mosque entrance. Sources told BuzzFeed News that around 40 to 50 people were arrested, but local police refused to confirm whether there were any arrests, according to South China Morning Post.
The raid in the villages of Huihuideng, Sanjia and Mamichang was coordinated by the Weishan County Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee to 'protect harmony and stability in the religious domain', an official notice published on Chinese microblogging site Weibo on Saturday said.
'The mosques were illegally established and conducted illegal religious education in violation of China's Regulation on Religious Affairs,' the statement said, adding that the decision to raid the three mosques came after the government's outreach programmes failed to deter such 'illegal religious activities'.
A source in Yunnan told BuzzFeed News that the mosques had been trying to register their establishments with the authorities for more than a decade, but their applications had been repeatedly denied. Continue reading on The Daily Mail