China / Society

Over 14,000 Chinese Muslims set for Mecca pilgrimage

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-09-17 18:28

Over 14,000 Chinese Muslims set for Mecca pilgrimage

Muslim pilgrims wave goodbye at Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, China, Sept. 17, 2014. About 14,500 Chinese pilgrims are scheduled to go to Mecca for an annual pilgrimage this year. The Mecca pilgrimage, also known as the Hajj, is a Muslim religious tradition that specifies that all able-bodied Muslims who can afford to travel to Saudi Arabia must visit Mecca at least once in their lives.[Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING - A total of over 12,000 Chinese Muslims have embarked on the annual pilgrimage held in the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

A charter flight with 297 Chinese Muslims from North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Wednesday morning left Beijing, heading for the Hajj.

Chinese airlines have assembled 94 chartered flights to transport the passengers to Mecca and back.

Authorities estimate the total number of Chinese pilgrims will exceed 14,000 who go to Mecca on a government-organized trip this year. The last group for the hajj is scheduled to leave on Saturday.

The hajj will be officially between Oct. 3 to Oct. 7.

The five-day session will be also attended by over 50 Chinese official functionaries who will provide medical and security services.

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