Sunday, May 31, 2009


The Great Mosque of Guangzhou, aslo known also as Huaisheng Mosque or also known as the Guangta Mosque (Light Tower Mosque), is considered to be the earliest surviving mosque in China. It also has the earliest freestanding minaret in China. Some sources claim that it was built by the uncle of prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Saad bin Abi Waqas.

Muslims take great pride in citing a hadith that says "seek knowledge even it it is in China." It points to the importance of seeking knowledge, even if it meant traveling as far away as China.
China, which has been close to Muslim hearts for over 1400 years, is home to millions of Muslims.
Islam's contact with China began during the caliphate of 'Uthman ibn Affan650 C.E., Eighteen years after the Prophet's death), under the leadership by Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqaas (Allayhi Rahma), Prophet Muhammad's (Salla Allahu wa Allahai wa Sallam, pbuh) maternal uncle, inviting the Chinese emperor to embrace Islam. (Allayhi Rahma, ra), the third caliph. After triumphing over the Byzantine, Romans and the Persians, 'Uthman ibn Affan, dispatched a deputation to China in 29 AH (
The Muslim mission built China's first mosque, the magnificent Canton city mosque known to this day as the 'Memorial Mosque.' Over the years Muslim trading activity through traders and merchant naval movements led many to settle in China. One of the first Muslim settlements in China was established in port city of Cheng Aan during the era of the Tang dynasty....

China(1998 edition), there are now 32,749 mosques in the entire People's Republic of China, with 23,000 in the province of Xinjiang. There has been an increased upsurge in Islamic expression in China,

Mosques and Muslim Population Distribution(HUI)

(according to Provinces and Major cities)
Area No. of Mosques Muslim(Hui) Population(1990)
Beijing City 64 200,700
Tianjin City 53 159,349
Hebei Province 578 492,022
Shanxi Province 52 51,917
Inner Mongolia Autonomous region 102 192,800
Liaoning Province 119 239,449
Jilin Province 96 122,777
Heilongjiang Province 72 139,078
Shanghai City 8 49,709
Jiangsu Province 43 121,120
Zhejiang Province 6 17,186
Anhui Province 121 280,342
Fujian Province 4 92,124
Jiangxi Province 4 9,530
Shandong Province 506 459,597
Henan Province 620 868,970
Hunan Province 45 93,205
Hubei Province 52 77,625
Guangdong Province 3 8,845
Guangxi Province 21 25,600
Hainan&nbspProvince 6 5,695
Yunnan&nbspProvince 600 522,046
Guizhou Province 85 100,058
Sichuan&nbspProvince 116 108,638
Sha'anxi &nbspProvince 118 130,899
Gansu&nbspProvince 2,800 1,094,354
Ningxia Autonomous region 2,580 1,524,448
Qinghai&nbspProvince 929 614,700
Tibet&nbspAutonomous region 3 1,783
Xinjiang&nbspAutonomous region 23,000 681,527
Taiwan 4 40,000
Hong Kong&nbspSAR 3 30,000

Muslims take great pride in citing a hadith that says "Seek knowledge even unto China." It points to the importance of seeking knowledge, even if it meant traveling as far away as China, especially as at t the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), China was considered the most developed civilization of the period. Islam in China began during the caliphate of 'Uthman ibn Affan (Allayhi Rahma, ra), the third caliph. After triumphing over the Byzantine, Romans and the Persians, 'Uthman ibn Affan, dispatched a deputation to China in 29 AH (650 C.E., Eighteen years after the Prophet's (pbuh) death), under the leadership by Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqaas (Allayhi Rahma), Prophet Muhammad's (Salla Allahu wa Allahai wa Sallam, pbuh) maternal uncle, inviting the Chinese emperor to embrace Islam.

Even before this, the Arab traders during the time of the Prophet (pbuh), had already brought Islam to China, although this was not an organized effort, but merely as an offshoot of their journey along the Silk Route (land and sea route).

Even though there are only sparse records of the event in Arab history, a brief one in Chinese history, The Ancient Record of the Tang Dynasty describes the landmark visit. To Chinese Muslims, this event is considered to be the birth of Islam in China. To show his admiration for Islam, the emperor Yung Wei ordered the establishment of China's first mosque. The magnificent Canton city mosque known to this day as the 'Memorial Mosque.' still stands today, after fourteen centuries.

One of the first Muslim settlements in China was established in this port city. The Umayyads and Abbasids sent six delegations to China, all of which were warmly received by the Chinese.

The Muslims who immigrated to China eventually began to have a great economic impact and influence on the country. They virtually dominated the import/export business by the time of the Sung Dynasty (960 - 1279 CE). Indeed, the office of Director General of Shipping was consistently held by a Muslim during this period. Under the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 CE) generally considered to be the golden age of Islam in China, Muslims gradually became fully integrated into Han society.

An interesting example of this synthesis by Chinese Muslims was the process by which their names changed. Many Muslims who married Han women simply took on the name of the wife. Others took the Chinese surnames of Mo, Mai, and Mu - names adopted by Muslims who had the names Muhammad, Mustafa, and Masoud. Still others who could find no Chinese surname similar to their own adopted the Chinese character that most closely resembled their name - Ha for Hasan, Hu for Hussein, or Sai for Said, and so on.

In addition to names, Muslim customs of dress and food also underwent a synthesis with Chinese culture. The Islamic mode of dress and dietary restrictions were consistently maintained, however, and not compromised. In time, the Muslims began to speak Han dialects and to read in Chinese. Well into the Ming era, the Muslims could not be distinguished from other Chinese other than by their unique religious customs.. In spite of the economic successes the Muslims enjoyed during these and earlier times, they were recognized as being fair, law-abiding, and self-disciplined. For this reason, once again, there was little friction between Muslim and non-Muslim Chinese.

Over the years, many Muslims established mosques, schools and madrasas attended by students from as far as Russia and India. It is reported that in the 1790's, there was as many as 30,000 Islamic students, and the city of Bukhara, - the birthplace of Imam Bukhari, one of the foremost compilers of hadith - which was then part of China, came to be known as the "Pillar of Islam."

The rise of the Ch'ing Dynasty (1644 - 1911 CE), though, changed this. The Ch'ing were Manchu (not Han) and were a minority in China. They employed tactics of divide-and- conquer to keep the Muslims, Han, Tibetans, and Mongolians in struggles against one another. In particular, they were responsible for inciting anti-Muslim sentiment throughout China, and used Han soldiers to suppress the Muslim regions of the country. When the Manchu Dynasty fell in 1911, the Republic of China was established by Sun Yat Sen, who immediately proclaimed that the country belonged equally to the Han, Hui (Muslim), Man (Manchu), Meng (Mongol), and the Tsang (Tibetan) peoples. His policies led to some improvement in relations among these groups.

Since the People?s Republic of China was founded in 1949, tremendous upheavals occurred throughout China culminating in the Cultural Revolution. Muslims along with all the Chinese population suffered. After the third congress of the 11th Central committee, the government greatly liberalized its policies toward Islam and Muslims.. Since religious freedom was declared in 1978, the Chinese Muslims have not wasted time in expressing their convictions.

Under China's current leadership, in fact, Islam appears to be undergoing a modest revival. Religious leaders report more worshipers now than before the Cultural Revolution, and a reawakening of interest in religion among the young.

According to a publication on mosques in China(1998 edition), there are now 32,749 mosques in the entire People's Republic of China, with 23,000 in the province of Xinjiang. There has been an increased upsurge in Islamic expression in China, and many nationwide Islamic associations have been organized to coordinate inter-ethnic activities among Muslims. Islamic literature can be found quite easily and there are currently some eight different translations of the Qur'an in the Chinese language as well as translations in Uygur and the other Turkic languages.

Muslims have also gained a measure of toleration from other religious practices. In areas where Muslims are a majority, the breeding of pigs by non-Muslims is forbidden in deference to Islamic beliefs. Muslim communities are allowed separate cemeteries; Muslim couples may have their marriage consecrated by an imam; and Muslim workers are permitted holidays during major religious festivals. The Muslims of China have also been given almost unrestricted allowance to make the Hajj to Mecca. China's Muslims have also been active in the country's internal politics. As always, the Muslims have refused to be silenced. Islam is very much alive for China's Muslims who have managed to practice their faith, sometimes against great odds, since the seventh century.

More than 8,000 people in China's largest Muslim region pay pilgrimage to Mecca

YINCHUAN, July 7 (Xinhua) -- A total of 8,288 Muslims in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, the largest Muslim region in the country, have made the pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam's holiest site in Saudi Arabia, a religious official said.
A pilgrimage to Mecca, also call the hajj, is the fifth pillar of Islam, an obligation that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so.
Before 1978, only seven Muslims from Ningxia traveled to Mecca for the hajj. At that time, the cost of the trip was just 8,000 yuan, said Ma Zhanquan, an imam.
Since China resumed organizing the hajj trip in 1985, the number of pilgrims from Ningxia grew from 15 in 1988 to 1,655 in 2007, which reflects a loosened religious policy and a sharp increase in per capita income of local farmers, said Hei Fuli, vice chairman of the Islamic Association of Ningxia.
Ningxia is home to 2.17 million Muslims, accounting for over one third of the region's total population and more than one tenth of China's 20 million Muslim population. Currently, Ningxia has 3,760 mosques.
China's growing material prosperity has had a knock-on effect in the spiritual lives of its Muslim citizens. As mud houses have given way to brick homes, as brackish water has been transformed into tap water, and as motorcycles and computers have replaced the sewing machine as the latest machines that every home seems to possess, Guo Tingjiang, 70, a farmer in Dongtasi Town, Wuzhong City, has realized his dream of going to Mecca.
"I was a cowherd. I didn't go to school and never knew the Arabic language. But I went to Beijing and Mecca. It was a miracle for me," he said.
Guo spent 30,000 yuan (4,323 U.S. dollars), a huge sum for people living in the poverty-stricken area, and made his trip to Mecca in 2000. The 40 days in the regional capital Yinchuan, Beijing and Mecca means his life now has no regrets. Guo's wife also became a hajj pilgrim in 2005.
The pilgrimage to Mecca is not only a religious activity for the Muslims, but also broadens their vision and promotes understanding among different Muslim sects, Hei Fuli said.
A total of 1,970 Muslims from Ningxia and neighboring Shaanxi Province went to Mecca last December on direct charter flights from Yinchuan. It cut the trip to eight hours and 40 minutes, saving at least 2,000 yuan for each hajj pilgrimage.
More than 10,000 Muslims went to Mecca for the pilgrimage in 2007, according to the China Islamic Association.
Around 1,700 Muslims in Ningxia and 13,000 in the whole country are expected to go to Mecca this year, Hei said.
According to incomplete statistics, there are over 100 million followers of various religious faiths, more than 85,000 sites for religious activities, some 300,000 clergy and over 3,000 religious organizations throughout China. In addition, there are 74 religious schools and colleges run by religious organizations for training clerical personnel.
"We used to pray on the goat fur in our mosque. Now we pray on woolen carpets. More and more people can afford the trip now as they get richer," said Yang Yuming, imam in Tongxin Mosque, the largest mosque in Ningxia.

Editor: Wang Hongjiang
More people from China's major Muslim region work with Arabic

A young Muslim's marriage during the on-going Chinese Spring Festival celebrations drew great admiration from locals in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, major habitat of Chinese Muslims.
Yang Bo, the 23-year-old bridegroom of Hui nationality, said he left his hometown in 2005 to work as an Arabic interpreter in Yiwu city of the economically advanced Zhejiang Province in east China.
He can earn about 3,000 yuan (nearly 375 U.S. dollars) a month, equal to a household's yearly income in the village of Tongxin County of Wuzhong City where he is from.
The growing businesses with Arabic countries in east and south China's coastal areas require more and more Arabic interpreters, and many young Arabic interpreters come from Wuzhong City as it boasts a big Hui population with a tradition of Arabic-learning.
In the business and trade city of Yiwu alone, there are more than 2,000 Arabic interpreters coming from Ningxia, an autonomous region which accommodates over 2 million people of Hui nationality, or 33 percent of the region's total population, and there are about 2,300 mosques, almost one in every village that Muslim people reside.
25-year-old Ma Xuefu started learning Arabic at 6 and has worked in Yiwu for 5 years.
Ma now operates 4 gift shops in Yiwu in cooperation with a Spanish businessman which brought him huge profits.
With the expansion of his businesses, he introduced over 40 Arabic interpreters from his hometown to Yiwu.
Ma Hanguo, an official in charge of labor and employment of Tongxin, said more and more young people from the Hui nationality are now eager to learn Arabic so as to earn a better living.
Ningxia is now China's biggest exporter of Arabic interpreters with dozens of Arabic language schools that attract more and more young local Muslims.

A Brief Chronology of Chinese History

Xia Dynasty 2070-1600 B.C.
Shang Dynasty 1600-1046 B.C.
Zhou Dynasty Western Zhou 1046-771 B.C.
Eastern Zhou
Spring and Autumn Period
Warring States Period
770-256 B.C.
770-476 B.C.
475-221 B.C.
Qin Dynasty 221-206 B.C.
Han Dynasty Western Han 206 B.C.-A.D. 25
Eastern Han 25-220
Three Kingdoms Wei 220-265
Shu Han 221-263
Wu 222-280
Western Jin Dynasty 265-317
Eastern Jin Dynasty 317-420
Northern and Southern Dynasties Southern Dynasties Song 420-479
Qi 479-502
Liang 502-557
Chen 557-589
Northern Dynasties Northern Wei 386-534
Eastern Wei 534-550
Northern Qi 550-577
Western Wei 535-556
Northern Zhou 557-581
Sui Dynasty 581-618
Tang Dynasty 618-907
Five Dynasties Later Liang 907-923
Later Tang 923-936
Later Jin 936-947
Later Han 947-950
Later Zhou 951-960
Song Dynasty Northern Song 960-1127
Southern Song 1127-1279
Liao Dynasty 907-1125
Jin Dynasty 1115-1234
Yuan Dynasty 1206-1368
Ming Dynasty 1368-1644
Qing Dynasty 1616-1911
Republic of China 1912-1949
People's Republic of China Founded on October 1, 1949
Copyright by People's Daily Online, all rights reserved
Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, a major region inhabited by Muslims in China, did trade with 119 countries and regions worldwide last year. Its foreign trade volume hit 967 million U.S. dollars last year, up 6.4 percent year on year.
The region registered a trade surplus of 410 million dollars last year, according to the Customs of Yinchuan, capital of this northwest China region.
The European Union was the largest trade partner of Ningxia, with bilateral trade volume topping 200 million dollars last year. The United States and Japan ranked the second and third. Australia was the largest import market of Ningxia.
Customs statistics show alumina accounted for 53.9 percent of Ningxia's total import and high-tech products contributed 200 million dollars to the region's total export volume last year.
(born 21 January 1947) is a prominent Uyghur businesswoman and political activist from the northwest region of Xinjiang in the People's Republic of China (PRC). She has been the president of the World Uyghur Congress since November 2006.[2]
Kadeer has been active in defending the rights of the largely Muslim Uyghur minority, who she says has been subject to systematic oppression by the Chinese government.[3] Kadeer is currently living in exile in the United States.



[edit] Early life and career

Rebiya Kadeer was born into poverty in the city of Altay, Xinjiang. She married in 1965 and moved to the city of Aksu, Xinjiang. During the Cultural Revolution, she was purged as a class enemy after a clothing business which she ran with her husband was branded as "speculation", resulting in her divorce.[citation needed]
Following her divorce, Kadeer opened a laundromat in 1976. She later remarried in 1981 to Sidik Rouzi, then an associate professor, and moved to Ürümqi. In Ürümqi, Kadeer leased a market in the local business district, converting it into a department store that specialized in Uyghur ethnic costumes. In 1985, Kadeer converted the site again to a 14,000 square meter commercial building.[citation needed]
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kadeer engaged in cross-border trade, accumulating assets which at their peak were worth more than 200 million yuan.[4] She became one of the five richest people in China, and her success earned her the nickname "the millionairess". The trading company she established had businesses operating in China, Russia and Kazakhstan.[citation needed] She has given birth to eleven children.[5] The Akida Industry and Trade Co founded by Kadeer, owns a number of properties in Xinjiang. These include The Akida Trade Center, the adjacent Kadeer Trade Center and the Tuanjie, or Unity, theatre in Ürümqi.[6]
Kadeer was an active philanthropist within the community, most notably through her foundation, 1,000 Families Mothers Project, a charity intended to help Uyghur women start their own local businesses.[4] In 1993, Kadeer was appointed delegate to the eighth session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference,[4] the National People's Congress and was a representative to the UN Fourth World Conference for Women in Beijing in 1995.[7] Kadeer has also been vice chairwoman of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region Federation of Industry and Commerce, and vice chairwoman of the Xinjiang Association of Women Entrepreneurs.
In 1997, Kadeer established the "Thousand Mothers Movement", to promote job training for Uyghur women, as well as evening schools for Uyghurs who did not have chance to go to ordinary school.[8]

[edit] Imprisonment

Having been a witness to the Ghulja Incident in 1997, Kadeer says she failed in her repeated attempts to persuade Beijing that change was needed. Feeling that she had no choice, she openly criticised the government in a speech before parliament, and was promptly removed from the National People's Consultative Conference; authorities revoked her passport.[5] In 1999 she sent newspaper clippings to her exiled husband, Sidik Rouzi, who was living in the United States and who is active in protesting against Chinese policies towards the Uyghur people. Kadeer was detained in August 1999 while on her way to meet a US Congressional Research Service delegation investigating the situation in Xinjiang at the time,[5] and was alleged to be in possession of a list of 10 people "suspected of having a connection with national separatist activities". She was detained by PRC authorities on charges of "leaking state secrets", and was convicted on 10 March 2000 in the Ürümqi Intermediate People's Court, of "endangering state security",[4][9] after sending her husband newspaper clippings on the treatment of the Uyghur community.[10]
Whilst in prison, Kadeer spent two years in solitary confinement, but was not tortured. She speculates that this was because guards were aware of her international reputation.[5] In 2004, her sentence was reduced by a year based on citations of good behaviour where she was being held.

[edit] Release and exile

In 2004 she won the Rafto Prize for human rights.[11] On 14 March 2005, Kadeer was released early, nominally on medical grounds, into United States' custody in advance of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the region. The U.S., which had pressured for her release, agreed to drop a resolution against China in the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch moderated their criticism somewhat as a consequence.[12] On 17 March, Kadeer flew to the U.S. and joined her family in Washington, D.C. In an interview with Phoenix Television before her departure to the US, she stated that she would remain a citizen of the People's Republic of China, and as a person born in the new China, she would sacrifice her own life for the integrity of China.[13]
In April 2007, one of her sons, Ablikim, was sentenced to 9 years in prison and 3 years deprivation of political rights, reportedly after confessing to charges of "instigating and engaging in secessionist activities." In November 2006 Alim, another of her sons, was sentenced to 7 years in prison and fined $62,500. Qahar Abdurehim, yet another of her sons, was fined $12,500 for tax evasion but not jailed. In June 2006, Alim, Ablikim, and Qahar were officially charged with state security and economic crimes shortly following Kadeer' election as president of the Uighur American Association.[14]
The Chinese government characterizes Kadeer as "an ironclad separatist colluding with terrorists and Islamic extremists."[1] But Kadeer believes that all Uyghur organizations fight peacefully.[15] On 5 June 2007, at a conference on democracy and security held in Prague, Kadeer met privately with President George W. Bush, who praised people like her for being "far more valuable than the weapons of their army or oil under the ground."[16] On 17 September 2007, the United States House of Representatives passed by a voice vote House Resolution 497,[17] demanding that the Chinese Government release the imprisoned children of Rebiya Kadeer and Canadian citizen Huseyin Celil, and change its suppressive policy towards the Uyghur people.[18]

[edit] July 2009 riots

While the protests that preceded the July 2009 riots were ostensibly a response to the death of two Uighur workers in Guangdong, the Chinese government catapulted Kadeer into the limelight when it claimed the WUC, which she heads, had planned the riots.[19] That said, Taiwan denied a visa to Mrs. Kadeer in Sept 2009, alleging she had links to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, classed as a terrorist organization by the United Nations and USA.[20]
Kadeer has denied that the riots were organised.[21]
On 3 August, Xinhua reported that two of Rebiya Kadeer's children had written letters blaming her for orchestrating the riots. According to Xinhua, they pleaded: "We want a stable and safe life … Please think about the happiness of us and your grandchildren. Don't destroy our happy life here. Don't follow the provocation from some people in other countries."[22] Germany-based spokesman for the WUC rejected the letters as fakes. A Human Rights Watch researcher remarked their style was "suspiciously close" to the way the Chinese authorities had described rioting in Xinjiang and the aftermath. He added that: "'s highly irregular for [her children] to be placed on the platform of a government mouthpiece ... for wide dispersion."[23] CCTV broadcast a video of interviews with the family members of Kadeer on 4 August.[24]
Xinhua announced in early September 2009 that three properties owned by Kadeer's companies, including the Akida Trade Center, where more than 30 members of Kadeer's family were reportedly living, would be torn down due to "cracks in the walls and sunken footings".[6] Local Uighurs said they saw this as an attempt to banish Kadeer's shadow; the Uighur American Association said the demolition may spark a new round of violence.[25]

[edit] The 10 Conditions of Love

Director Jeff Daniels shot a documentary film in 2009 about Kadeer, called "The 10 Conditions of Love". It was destined to be screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival. The organisers refused a request from Chinese consulate in Melbourne for the film to be withdrawn and for Kadeer's invitation to the festival to be rescinded. Several Chinese directors pulled out of the event. The festival website was hacked and festival information replaced with the Chinese flag and anti-Kadeer slogans, and booked out all film sessions on the site; a denial-of-service attack forced it to shut down.[26][27] Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said China was "firmly opposed to any foreign country providing her with a stage for her anti-China separatist activities". However, Daniels said it was good that "people were able to see different sides of the story" and criticised the heavy pressure from the Chinese government.[28][29][30]
Australian Federal Labor Member of Parliament, Michael Danby, transmitted a message of support for the screening from 14th Dalai Lama, saying: "...[Kadeer] is another one of the national leaders who is a paradigm of non-violence." Danby said the Dalai Lama, "wanted to make it very clear to people that the claims of this woman being a violent person or instigating violence, is from his point of view, and with all of his authority, wrong."[31]
The documentary was scheduled to be shown at the Kaoshiung Film Festival, Taiwan, in October 2009, but was later rescheduled to September, before the festival due to opposition from the PRC.[32] Wang Yi of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China opposed the film, saying it "beatifies the ethnic separatists" and sends "the wrong signals about terrorism and violence".[33] The website for the festival was also hacked.[34][35] It was later announced that the film would be shown at the film festival as originally planned. Premier Wu Den-yih said the government would protect freedom of speech,[36] but Kadeer's entry ban from Taiwan was extended by three years "based on security needs".[37]


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