Chinese expert voiced opposition to proposed legislation on the
production and management of halal food, saying that it could damage the
principle of the separation of religion from politics.
Xi Wuyi, an expert on Marxism at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,
recently wrote on her Sina Weibo account that she advises against
national legislation on halal food.
Xi said such legislation "violates the principle of separation of State
and religion" and if the bill is enacted, it will interfere with the
practices of religious followers in different regions and may threaten
"China’s national security strategy."
She refused an interview request from the Global Times on Sunday,
explaining that the topic is too "sensitive."
The State Council entrusted the Ethnic Affairs Committee of the National
People’s Congress (NPC) with drafting national regulations on halal food
After reviewing a proposal by lawmakers saying that disputes were
triggered by issues related to halal food, the Ethnic Affairs Committee
of the NPC suggested speeding up passage of the legislation in both 2012
and 2015, saying that the legislation is "reasonable and necessary" as
it relates to "national unity and social stability," according to the
committee’s official website.
Several Muslims smashed the facilities of a bakery in Xining, Northwest
China’s Qinghai Province in May 2015 after discovering non-halal
ingredients, such as pork sausages and ham, in its delivery van.
Ma Yuxiang and Ma Zhipeng, professors at Northwest University for
Nationalities in Lanzhou, called for the legislation in 2014, saying
misconduct by halal restaurants has jeopardized national unity.
However, Wei Dedong, vice-dean of the School of Philosophy at the Renmin
University of China, told the Global Times that a national regulation
would authorize the secular government to define Islam-related issues,
stressing that the legislation should be "cautious."