Officials said the newly built Weizhou Grand Mosque in the Ningxia region had not been given proper building permits. But worshippers refused to back down. One resident said they would not "let the government touch the mosque".
<img src="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/e6/e630e6003ffd9df09bbaaccc7d105aef?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=1200" border="0" /><em>Hundreds of Muslims in north-western China are engaged in a standoff with authorities to prevent their mosque from being demolished.
The new mosque was completed only last year, and city authorities initially wanted it torn down by Friday, citing a lack of proper planning and construction permits. Amid public outrage, authorities softened their demolition order to a "rectification plan" that demanded a less 'Arab' and more Chinese look. "The first version of that plan called for the mosque’s 'Arab-style' domes to be replaced with traditional Chinese-style pagodas but was swiftly rejected by worshippers," reports the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post. "The government then asked the mosque’s management committee to remove eight the nine domes that top the mosque, leaving the largest one in the centre. That, too, was deemed unacceptable by most members of the community." Earlier this week, the unannounced demolition of the influential Beijing studio of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei sparked international outrage.