Verifiability/reliability: Strong, report by local journalists complete with imagery.
This is a short article from June 2017 by local reporters about an exhibition in Letuyi Township in northern Xinjiang. The exhibition displays items that fall under the "Three Illegals" (三非一品)—more literally "Three Illegals, One Item"—which refers to three types of illegal items and one type of restricted item. These are: illegal religious items, illegal proselytizing items, illegal Internet transmission or dissemination items, and items that can be easily used for explosives. (非法宗教活动、非法宣传品、非法网络传播、易制爆物品 per this FAQ by the Propaganda Department of Changji, Xinjiang.)
Professor Timothy Grose of Rose-Hulman describes some of the confiscated or voluntarily surrendered items pictured below:
Among the pictured items are iwiq/teretlik, vessels used for ritualized washing and ablutions (wudu, typically done before prayer). Although some Uyghurs possess iwiq for religious activity, many families also keep them in their homes to store fresh water for simple rinsing. Influenced by rules of Islamic personal hygiene, even casually devout Uyghurs might insist water must be poured—often three times—to ensure proper cleanliness, especially before eating.
Other items include intricately decorated porcelain. An explanation is not provided for the inclusion of these articles in the Three Illegals exhibit. However, it appears as though these bowls and vases are inscribed with Arabic calligraphy, which would violate the “de-Arabization” campaigns in the region.
Recall that these items are quite literally viewed on par with things used to make explosives. This exhibition is one of many examples of how policy in Xinjiang targets a vast range of otherwise harmless religious beliefs, unless one believes bowls can be a reliable indicator of terrorism and extremism.
Special thanks to the translator of this piece, who wishes to remain anonymous. Not all pictures in the original post are included. The article is archived here. Another (untranslated) example of an identical exhibition in a different town can be found here.
In order to educate and guide the wider public towards further recognition of what “Three Illegals” include, as well as their hideous inhuman, antisocial, and uncivilized nature and their threat to social stability, on June 25th Letuyi Town in Manas County organized a visit for more than 1400 individuals from all 10 villages in the town to The Chinese Jade Garden [the expo center] and attend the “Three Illegals” deterrent educational exhibit. This visit is intended to guide the wider public towards a firm stance, encourage citizens to keep their eyes open in order to stay away from extreme ideas and illegal religious activities, and lay a solid popular foundation for achieving the overall goal of maintaining social stability and long-term peace.
The trip raised awareness of what “Three Illegals and One Item” entails as well as the dangers thereof. One by one, visitors observed and recognized objects in the exhibit’s five sections: “Ornaments, clocks, and banners imprinted with fanatical religious sentiments”, “Illegal religious publications”; “Over-generalized ‘Halal’ household products”, “Restricted tools and equipment related to violence and terrorism”, and “Prayer rugs for illegal underground religious activities”. They also viewed “Three Illegals” objects, “items easily used to make explosives”, and restricted knives and blades that were handed in proactively by citizens.
It is understood that this deterrent educational exhibit will last for a month and includes five sections: “Ornaments, clocks, and banners imprinted with fanatical religious sentiments”, “Illegal religious publications”; “‘Over-generalized ‘Halal’ household products”, “Restricted tools and equipments related to violence and terrorism”, and “Prayer rugs for illegal underground religious activities”. In total, the exhibit includes 17,738 objects voluntarily handed in by citizens: specifically, there are 16,862 “Three lllegals” items, 351 “items easily used to make explosives”, and 525 restricted knives and blades.