Xi’an Muslim District

The Hui people are an ethnic group in China, defined as Chinese speaking people descended from foreign Muslims. They are typically distinguished by their practice of Islam, however some also practice other religions, and many are direct descendants of Silk Road travelers.

In modern People’s Republic of China, the term “Hui people” refers to one of the officially recognized 56 ethnic groups into which Chinese citizens are classified. Under this definition, the Hui people are defined to include all historically Muslim communities in People’s Republic of China that are not included in China’s other ethnic groups. Since China’s Muslims speaking various Turkic, Mongolian, or Iranian languages are all included into those other groups the “officially recognized” Hui ethnic group consists predominantly of Chinese speakers. In fact, the “Hui nationality” is unique among China’s officially recognized ethnic minorities in that it does not have any particular non-Chinese language associated with it.

The Hui people are of varied ancestry, many of whom are direct descendants of Silk Road travelers. Their ancestors include Central Asian, Arabs, Persian, who married Han Chinese. Several medieval dynasties, particularly the Tang Dynasty, Song Dynasty, and Mongol Yuan Dynasty encouraged immigration from predominantly-Muslim Persia and Central Asia, with both dynasties welcoming traders from these regions and appointing Central Asian officials. In the subsequent centuries, they gradually mixed with Mongols and Han Chinese, and the Hui people were formed.

Source: Wikipedia
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