Chinese Muslims banned from going on individual trips to Mecca

Chinese Muslims banned from going on individual trips to Mecca

A new rule in China means Muslims who want to visit Mecca must go on government-approved trips, further tightening rules that had already made individual trips to the haj near-impossible.

China has introduced new rules banning non-official pilgrimages to Mecca and Muslims wishing to visit the holy site will need to arrange trips with the government.

Observers said the decision was another attempt by the Communist Party to control religious affairs.

In rules issued on Monday for the Muslim pilgrimage, known as the haj, the State Administration for Religious Affairs said all such trips to Saudi Arabia must be arranged by the Islamic Association of China, an organization controlled by the party’s international outreach arm, the United Front Work Department.