Reviews

This notice on a partly Muslim-peopled southwest highland province of China is divided up into two parts: the first on history, the second on the “community”.  The historical overview begins with the creation of the province (on the basis of an ancient county of the same denomination) by Qubilay in 1253, and with the evocation of its present-day Muslim minority (1,36 per cent of the province’s population in 1990, mostly distributed in its eastern part).  The author mentions the report by Tang sources of the early ninth-century CE immigration of “Taji” (i.e. Tajik, that is, Arab) soldiers as military reinforcements to the local dynasty, becoming the first Muslims in Yunnan, though the tale is uncorroborated elsewhere.  The origins of the Yunnan Muslims are traced back by the author to the early Yuan dynasty: a number of West Asian merchants and Uighur soldiers, many of them being Muslims, settled down in the province after its conquest by Qubilay.  Like those of other provinces, Yunnan Muslims were gradually sinicised under the Ming; at the same time many Muslims immigrated from surrounding provinces into Yunnan.  In the framework of the Qing colonisation policy, Chinese and Muslims gradually spread further into the province.  In the nineteenth century, Chinese pressure for ethnic assimilation increased, leading to frictions between Muslims and Han Chinese: revolts began to occur, notably the Great Rebellion of 1854-62.  With the triumph of the People’s Republic in 1950, the position of the Yunnan Hui worsened, especially during the Cultural Revolution (evocation of the “Shadian Indicent”—the destruction of a centre of Islamic learning, and the massacre of its population, by the People’s Liberation Army in August 1975).  The short paragraphs on the Muslim community of Yunnan summarises their economic specialisations, and evokes their weak confessional differentiation from other Hui communities of China.  Actually, most Muslims of Yunnan follow the gedimu (Arabic: qadimi, “ancient”) form of Chinese Islam, basically that of Hanafism.  At the same time the Jahriyya order (also called sinxiao, i.e. “New Religion”, and so opposed to the gedimu) and the Ikhwan movement (that spurns membership of the menhuans or mystical paths) are also present among them: in Yunnan the Ikhwans make up ca. 10 per cent of all Muslims.  As it is often the case in Japanese scholarship, this panoramic notice has been based, besides the author’s extensive fieldwork, on a rich, multilingual bibliography.

The Redaction
CER: I-2.5-154