Education About Asia: Online Archives

Tracing Muslim Roots: A Brief History of the Hui

By Sandra Aili Green

In November of 2004 an account of ethnic fighting in rural Henan, China, appeared in newspapers in the United States. Seven people were reported killed and dozens injured after a traffic accident involving a Han Chinese driver and a Hui Chinese driver erupted into violence. The inference that ethnic tensions are ongoing between Han and the Hui, however, is inflated. Muslims have resided in China for over 1,300 years. Some twenty million Muslims live in China, and nearly half of them are Hui, Chinese- speaking Muslims who live throughout China. China’s Muslim Belt, where large percentages of the population are Hui, extends across Qinghai, Ningxia, Gansu, and into Shaanxi. Sizable Hui communities are found in Xinjiang, Yunnan, Henan, Hebei, and Shandong. All major cities have Muslim districts and mosques.

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