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Who Are China's Hui People?


An ethnic Hui man in northwestern China

Hui Man from China

eviltomthai on Flickr.com

The Hui people are a designated minority group in China consisting of Muslims, mostly descended from Silk Road traders or as administrators for the Mongol Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Their ancestors were Persians, Arabs and Turkic Central Asians who came to China as part of the Silk Road trading system. The Hui people live primarily in northwest China, although some live in Yunnan Province, Hainan Island, Beijing, and other places.

Unlike all of the other designated minority groups in China, the Hui are not distinguished by a unique language. Their western ancestors married in to local families, and Hui people now speak Chinese. Instead, they are distinguished by their continued adherence to Islam.

Pronunciation: h-WEE
Also Known As: Dungan (Russian), Zhongyuan
Alternate Spellings: Huizu
"The most famous Hui person in Chinese history is the great eunuch admiral of the Ming Dynasty, Zheng He."

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