News and Travel Editor
Over 90 percent of people in China belong to the Han ethnic group. But I’ve always been fascinated by China’s so-called “Minority Nationalities.” After all, there are around 105 million Chinese people who belong to minority nationalities – which is more than the total population of Vietnam!
So to celebrate the end of Ramadan, a period that is observed by 1.6 billion Muslims around the world and over 21 million Muslims in China, here are some quick facts on Islam in China:
Facts about Muslims in China
- Of China’s 55 minority nationalities, about 10 groups are classified as ‘Muslim’, with the largest groups being the Hui people and Uyghurs.
- Huimin Street in Xi’an is famous for Muslim street food, such as traditional Uyghur dish yangrou paomo — pita bread soaked in lamb soup.
- Muslims live in every region in China, with the highest concentration in Western China’s Gansu, Xinjiang, Yunnan and Qinghai provinces.
- Islam was introduced to China almost 1,400 years ago.
- Today there are over 20,000 mosques in China, of which one of the most impressive is the Beacon Tower mosque of Guangzhou built in the Tang dynasty, possibly as early as the 7th century, making it one of the oldest mosques in the world.
- There are 10 predominantly Muslim ethnic groups in China. These are Hui, Uyghur, Kazakh, Dongxiang, Kyrgyz, Salar, Tajik, Uzbek , Bonan, and Tatar.
- China is the only country in the world with a long historical tradition of independent women’s mosques, developed gradually over several centuries.
- Halal food is called Qing Zhen Cai in Chinese. Learn how to make some recipes at home here