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The Integration of Religious Minorities in China: The Case of Chinese Muslims


  • Donald Daniel Leslie


This paper discusses the integration of religious minorities in China, in particular, of the Hui Muslims. From the pre-Islamic relations between Arabia and China, to the Song period, the Mongol period, and the eventual integration during the Ming period and later, the paper looks at Chinese policy's thousand year old fluctuating relationship with Islam. It is argued here that the non-proselytisation impetus of Islam allowed the religion to be tolerated by Chinese authorities, who consequently did not view it as a threat. The paper explores the circumstances surrounding the final integration of Muslims during the Ming period, and the subsequent creation of "Chinese Muslims" or "Muslim Chinese". With integration began the amalgam of Chinese Confucian ideas with Islamic religious ideas. Integration also raised the question of whether there would be a total assimilation. [George Ernest Morrison Lecture on Ethnography, 1998, The Contemporary China Centre]

Suggested Citation

  • Donald Daniel Leslie, 2006. "The Integration of Religious Minorities in China: The Case of Chinese Muslims," Working Papers id:732, eSocialSciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:732
    Note: Institutional Papers

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