Dru C. Gladney
There are almost twenty million Muslims in China, constituting a diverse community that is both multi-ethnic and, within Islam, multi-religious. There are ten official Muslim nationalities of China, namely, Uyghur, Kazak, Dongxiang, Kyrgyz, Salar, Tadjik, Uzbek, Bonan, and Tatar. With the exception of the Hui, all these Muslim nationalities do not speak Chinese as their native language and are derived more from Central Asian than Chinese origins. The Hui are spread across the length and breadth of the country, but they often share nothing in common with each other except Islam, or the memory of it as handed down to them by their ancestors. While it also might be argued that most of the other Muslim minorities are on the borders of China proper and are historically and culturally more attuned to the regions and peoples outside of China, the Hui are unique in that they inhabit every city, town, and 97 percent of all counties in China. This article examines Islamic communities in China, focusing on Islam among Muslims classified by the state as Hui.