A senior Communist Party official of China's Xinjiang province on Thursday said that "Sinicisation of Islam in the Muslim-dominated province was "inevitable". China has faced massive international criticism over the persecution Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

The remarks of Ma Xingrui came six months after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Xinjiang and asked officials to "promote the Sinicization of Islam”.

"Everyone knows that Islam in Xinjiang needs to be Sinicised, this is an inevitable trend," regional party chief Ma Xingrui told reporters, according to news agency Reuters.

Sinicisation refers to the process of non-Chinese societies or groups getting assimilated into Chinese culture. The end goal is conformity to cultural, ideological, and ethnic norms.

Ma was reading out from a largely scripted briefing on the sidelines of China's annual parliamentary sessions in Beijing, the report said.

Ma Xingrui, who was previously the governor of Guangdong province, was sent to head the administration in Xinjiang in 2021.

In recent years, President Xi Jinping has repeatedly called for the 'Sinicisation' of various religions, including Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity, urging followers to pledge loyalty to the Communist Party.

The Chinese government has been blamed for pursuing a years-long campaign against what it describes as terrorism and Islamic extremism in the northwestern region.

A UN agency in a 2022 report spoke of "serious human rights violations have been committed" in Xinjiang "in the context of the Government's application of counter-terrorism and counter-'extremism' strategies."