• Raphael Israeli Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel


Unlike other Muslim minorities in the world, the one in China is : a. Divided between two large ethnic groups: Hui in China Proper, who are concentrated in major urban agglomerations; and Uighurs, of Turkish stock, who used to make up the majority in North-Western China, but are now outnumbered by Han Chinese, via a policy of settlement and dilution of the minority. b. Except for Xinjiang, the Muslims of China are not attached to any particular territory (like the Mongols in Mongolia or the Tibetans in Tibet), but are spread all over the country, something which dilutes them into an insignificant minority (1-2%) in spite of their large absolute numbers (25-30 million). The vast distribution of the Muslims all over that vast country has made for a huge diversification in their creed and customs, beyond the division between Hui and Uighurs. This great variety has created many sects and sub-sects, some of which are very special to China.

Keywords: Hui, Uighurs, Xinjiang, New Sect (xin-jiao), Sectarianism, separatism, secession


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