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Pingliang Arabic School in Gansu hosts its autumn semester opening ceremony, but the school will not survive beyond the end of December if authorities have their way. Photo: Handout.
The imminent closure of a 34-year-old Arabic language school in China’s northwestern province of Gansu has raised fears that draconian religion policies adopted in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region are applied to other Muslim-populated areas.
Pingliang Arabic School, a charity that caters to underprivileged students, has been told by city education officials to close by December 17 and send its 200 students and 20 teachers home.
Officials claim the school does not have the operational permits it needs although it has been in business since 1984. Pingliang is a small city on the border between Gansu and Shaanxi province – one of China’s poorest areas.
“It seems that the officials are not interested in talking to us at all,” said a teacher who requested anonymity.