The U.S.-based Hilton hospitality company is developing a hotel built on the site of an Uyghur mosque recently demolished by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in China’s western region of Xinjiang, Bitter Winter reported on Wednesday.
“The mosque land was purchased at public auction by a local developer, who in turn signed a contract to develop there a Hampton Hotel, one of the brands owned by Hilton,” Bitter Winter, an online religious liberty and human rights magazine, wrote on June 23.
The magazine referenced a recent report by the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper, which revealed on June 12 that Chinese government authorities tore down Hotan’s Duling Mosque in recent years as part of a plan to replace the Islamic religious center with a commercial development, including a Hampton, which is brand of hotel brand owned by Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.
According to the Telegraph, a local Xinjiang landowner purchased the land on which the hotel is being built at a public auction in 2019. A Chinese company called Huan Peng Hotel Management Company, Ltd., signed a contract with the unidentified landowner in August 2020 to develop a Hampton hotel.
Bitter Winter reported on Wednesday:
[T]he Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim human rights advocacy organization in the United States, and several others have asked Hilton Hotels to withdraw its participation in the business operation aimed at building a shopping center in Hotan, Xinjiang, at the site where the Duling Mosque was demolished.
“A mosque site remains a sacred site for Muslims even after demolition,” the magazine noted.
CAIR’s national deputy director, Edward Ahmed Mitchell, wrote a letter to Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. CEO Christopher Nassetta on June 15 in which he urged the Virginia-based multinational company to “to immediately cancel any plans to build a luxury Hilton Hotel in Xinjiang’s Hotan region in China, where a genocide of Uyghur Muslims is taking place.”
Mitchell referred to the Chinese government’s persecution of Uyghurs – a Turkic-speaking, mainly Sunni Muslim ethnic minority group in Xinjiang. Foreign governments, including that of the U.S., along with a mounting list of human rights organizations accuse communist authorities of attempting to commit a genocide of Uyghurs by forcefully detaining 1-3 million members of the ethnic group — along with other mainly Muslim ethnic minorities, such as Kazakhs and Kyrgyz people — in state-run detention camps in Xinjiang since about 2017. Survivors and former employees of the camps allege that they either suffered or witnessed slave labor conditions, mental and physical torture, sexual abuse and rape, forced sterilizations, and forced abortions at the camps.
“Hilton Worldwide Inc. already operates a Hampton hotel at Urumqi International Airport in the XUAR [Xinjiang] capital [Urumqi], the Hilton Urumqi in the city center, and a Conrad hotel also in the city center that will open for business on August 31,” Radio Free Asia reported on June 21.