China announces stricter regulations for Muslims visiting Saudi Arabia for Haj pilgrimage

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China has announced stricter regulations for Muslims visiting Saudi Arabia for annual Haj. As per new rules, only the Chinese Islamic Association can organise the Haj pilgrimage. The new regulation, with a total of 42 articles, stipulates that Haj should be organised in accordance with laws and Chinese Muslims should oppose religious extremism.
The state-run Global Times reported that no other organisation or individual should conduct the Haj pilgrimage and Chinese citizens applying for Haj should meet the basic requirements. These new rules will come into effect from December 1.
“People who go overseas to perform hajj should abide by China's and the destination country' laws and regulations, and oppose religious extremism, according to the regulations. The related government departments are requested to fulfil their responsibilities and ban illegal hajj activities,” the Global Times reported.
Effective starting December 1, the regulation aims to facilitate Chinese Muslims' pilgrimages as well as ensure their security during the journey, analysts and religious groups reached by the Global Times said.
According to reports, the country has been witnessing a gradual decline in the number of Muslims embarking upon the annual Haj pilgrimage every year. Saudi Arabia reopened Mecca for the Umrah pilgrimage from October 4 after seven months of the COVID-19 lockdown.
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