Sino-Muslim Relations: The Han, the Hui, and the Uyghurs

Friedrichs, J. (2017). Sino-Muslim Relations: The Han, the Hui, and the Uyghurs. Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs37(1), 55-79. Link


Sino-Muslim relations rest upon an informal socio-spatial hierarchy according to which some Muslim groups are more of an asset and others more of a liability. In this informal hierarchy, Hui Muslims are closer to the center than any other Muslim group because they are Sinicized, seen as religiously moderate, and mostly live in proximity to non-Muslim Chinese neighbors. Central Asian Muslims, most notably Xinjiang’s Uyghurs, are more distant from China’s notional center and seen as culturally more alien and prone to religious extremism. This article discusses the historical roots of this socio-spatial hierarchy and systematically examines Sino-Muslim relations in political, economic, and societal terms. It concludes that, despite problematic features from a western-liberal perspective, the hierarchy continues to enable the Chinese majority to manage a set of otherwise challenging relationships.


The author looks at the political, economic and societal relations between Han, Hui and Uyghurs, comparing the differences in the way different Muslim minorities are treated. He is a bit weird about “controlling” majority-Muslim populations by non-Muslim minorities (like India-Kashmir, Israel-Palestine, Russia-Tatarstan/Northern Caucasus, etc) but all-in-all, an interesting source for reading about China’s treatment of different Islamic groups.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: