Correcting Transgressions in the House of Islam: Yang Zengxin's Buguozhai wendu on Xinjiang's Muslims

David Brophy

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    For all the interest in Islam as a mobilising force in contemporary Xinjiang, research on the history of Islam in Xinjiang is limited in comparison with other parts of Turkestan. The history of Sufism among the Uyghurs is the exception to this, but it would be a mistake to conclude that we thereby gain a complete picture of the place of Islam in local politics and society. Other institutional bases of Islamic life, e.g. Xinjiang’s mosques, madrasas, and qƗĪƯ courts, and the interactions of these with a Chinese provincial bureaucracy, are still relatively unknown quantities. We must keep in mind, too, that Xinjiang was home to not one, but multiple Islamic communities, and while religious practice sometimes broke down communal boundaries, sometimes it did not. Apart from the nomadic-sedentary divide, paralleling divisions in Russian Turkestan, Xinjiang was also home to many Chinesespeaking Muslims, known in Chinese as Hui, or locally as Dungans. During the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), China’s last, these Hui migrants were among the first natives of China to move to Xinjiang, comprising almost 100,000 out of a total population of around two million by the fall of the dynasty in 1911. The official stance towards Islam among Xinjiang’s Uyghurs is seen as laissez-faire for much of the Qing. Elsewhere, however, the dynasty’s Chinese-speaking Muslim subjects regularly bore the brunt of the state’s suspicions and punitive laws. We should ask, therefore, with the increasing presence of Hui Muslims in Xinjiang society during the late-Qing, did policy towards Islam preserve or overcome this bifurcation in the imperial vision?
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIslam, Society and States across the Qazaq Steppe (18th - Early 20th Centuries)
    Editors Niccolò Pianciola and Paolo Sartori
    Place of PublicationVienna
    PublisherVerlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
    ISBN (Print)9783700173366
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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