Hui people

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Chinese languages


Dungan, Panthay, Dongxiang, Han Chinese,
other Sino-Tibetan peoples

The Hui people (Chinese: ; pinyin: Huízú, Xiao'erjing: حُوِ ذَو ) are an ethnic group in China, typically distinguished by their practice of Islam, and many of whom 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.[2] Since China's Muslims speaking various Turkic, Mongolian, or Iranian languages are all included into those other groups (e.g., Uyghurs, Dongxiang, or Tajiks) the "officially recognized" Hui ethnic group consists predominantly of Chinese speakers.[3] 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.[4]

Nonetheless, included among the Hui in Chinese census statistics (and not officially recognized as separate ethnic groups) are members of a few small non-Chinese speaking communities. Among them are several thousand Utsuls in southern Hainan province, who speak an Austronesian language (Tsat) related to that of the Cham Muslim minority of Vietnam, and who are said to be descended from Chams who migrated to Hainan.[5] A small Muslim minority among Yunnan's Bai people are classified as Hui as well (even if they are Bai speakers),[6] as are some groups of Tibetan Muslims.[5]

The Hui people are concentrated in Northwestern China (Ningxia, Gansu, Qinghai, Xinjiang), but communities exist across the country, e.g. Beijing, Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Hainan, Yunnan, etc.

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