China Muslims
A Muslim man arrives at the Id Kah Mosque for the morning prayer on Eid al-Fitr in the old town of Kashgar in China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous RegionJOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images

In China, Muslims say the Communist regime is trying to eradicate Islam from the country. The soft crackdown on the religion is evident in Linxia, a region in western Gansu province that's known as China's Mecca.

The most worrisome part for Chinese Muslims is that the government is planning to implement the Xinjiang model in other parts of the country where ethnic Hui Muslims are concentrated.

For decades, the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang were the target of the Chinese government's surveillance and suppression. China has been vocal about keeping the Muslim province in a tight leash in order to scupper extremism and militancy.

Now, this anti-Muslim bias is getting stronger and spreading to other regions as well, according to the AFP news agency.

"The winds have shifted in the past year ... , Frankly, I'm very afraid they're going to implement the Xinjiang model here," an Imam from Linxia, who would not reveal his name, told the agency.

What is the Chinese state doing?

The crackdown in Xinjiang was harsh and with a stated objective -- to suppress militancy. Beijing at times went as far as banning the Muslim fasting during Ramadan. However, in Linxia, what's in progress is a soft crackdown.

The latest measure is the curtailing of the number of people over 16 who are allowed to study in mosques. Another action was the introduction of a certification processes for new imams.

Other repressive measures include the instruction to mandatorily display the Chinese national flags on the mosques. The report says that even the daily call to Muslim prayer has been banned. The reason cited is that the use of loudspeakers for the call to prayer or namaz causes noise pollution.

Why is China increasingly becoming wary of Muslims?

The imam from Linxia has the answer. "They want to secularise Muslims, to cut off Islam at the roots ... These days, children are not allowed to believe in religion: only in communism and the party."

China is rolling out the newly revised Religious Affairs Regulations. The new laws have increased the punishments for unauthorised religious activities.

There are a million ethnic Hui Muslims in China. They account for half of the communist country's Muslim population. Though they have been well integrated with the ethnic Han Chinese, they have now run into stiffened state regulations that question their existence.

The Hui Muslims of Linxia are aware that they have been caught in the conflict raging in Xinjiang. The Huis aver that they are not like the "bloodthirsty" Xinjiang tribes. The Xinjiang militants have launched terror attacks that killed scores and attracted violent reprisals from the government.

What is the effect?

There is a drastic fall in the number of Muslim boys who take up religious/madrasa studies in mosques. The AFP story says that in one mosque in Linxia, there are now merely 20 boys above 16 who follow Quranic studies, in comparison to nearly 1,000 boys before the crackdown.

There are periodic inspections in the mosques to make sure the imams are not flouting the new regulations.

The resistance of the Muslims in the country has been feeble, but even that's withering. Initially some imams tried to conduct training sessions for the children in secret places before dawn, but they have now stopped the practice for fear of violent crackdowns.

There were reports in May that said the Chinese government had detained hundreds of thousands of Muslims and made them undergo re-education. The process included forcing Muslims to eat pork and drink alcohol, which are prohibited in Islam.

This was part of the broad Chinese strategy of cultural cleansing, "Cultural cleansing is Beijing's attempt to find a final solution to the Xinjiang problem," James Millward, China historian at Georgetown University, told the Independent.