How Many Different Ethnic Groups in China Follow Islam? The Answer is ‘Ten’!

A Muslim Woman

Original Article: 中国只有回族是穆斯林吗?中国穆斯林的人口数量及地域分布!

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

Translator’s Note: Muslims have lived in China for over a thousand years. By and large, their characteristics of morality, trustworthiness, hard work, compassion and ingenuity has been welcomed in China by both Emperors and peasants alike! Since 1949, these Muslim populations have benefitted and thrived from the new Socialist Constitution guaranteeing them all their required cultural and religious rights. Some Muslim group may be said to be ‘modern’, whilst others are still living in pre-modern cultural manifestations that are protected by the State and assisted wherever possible (or whenever needed (or requested by the ethnic groups themselves). Everywhere the standard of living and quality of life has improved immeasurably for Muslims living throughout China. Education of the young, jobs for the adults, free medical care for all, welfare and care for the elderly are key Socialist objectives practised by the Chinese State as these correspond with Qur’anic principles. Muslims in China reject the US fabricated Islamo-fascism (developed by the CIA in Afghanistan), have no connection with terrorism, and live peaceful and productive lives. Most Western sources incorrectly state that there are just two Islamic ethnicities in China – when in fact there are ten. Many different Muslim ethnic groups live near or around one another, and when this complex picture is understood, the Western Disinformation of the persecution of the ‘Uighur’ ethnic group is revealed for the nonsense it is! The Uighur are surrounded on all sides by different (and often ‘unrelated’) Muslim groups, but as the Western media is ignorant of this, these groups are never mentioned. Indeed, the irony is that the Uighur are often the most openly supportive of the Communist Party of China – with many Uighur men and women forming highly respected Units in the PLA. ACW (8.7.2019) 

There are ten ethnic groups in China who believe in Islam (who are often referred to as Muslims). They are the Hui (回), Uygur (维吾尔), Kazak (哈萨克), Uzbek (乌孜别克), Tajik (塔吉克), Tatar (塔塔尔), Kirgiz (柯尔克孜), Salar (撒拉), Dongxiang (东乡) and Bao An (保安) Ethnicities.


This population numbers about 11 million people, and it is in general Chinese. The population distribution is large and small. There are Hui people all over the country, with Luoyang possessing a special Hui District.

Uighur-24c0-fyqwiqi8554355 (1)

This population numbers about 10 million people, mainly distributed in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, most of which are concentrated in Southern Xinjiang.
They make use the Uighur language.


This ethnicity has a population of about 1.6 million people, mainly distributed in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture in Northern Xinjiang. There are three autonomous counties: Xinjiang Mulei Kasak Autonomous County, Balikun Kazakh Autonomous County and Gansu Akesai Kazakh Autonomous County. They make use of the use of the Kazakh language.


Also known as the Kyrgyz ethnic group, the population is about 200,000 people, 80% of them live in the Kyrgyzstan Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture in Southern Xinjiang, and the rest live in other counties in the western part of Southern Xinjiang and the western part of Northern Xinjiang. They use Kirgiz – a Turkic language – and the Uighur language.


This population numbers about 60,000 people, 60% of which is distributed in the Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County of Xinjiang in the eastern part of the Pamirs. 40% of them live in the counties of Shadong, Zepu, Yecheng and Pishan. The Tajik ethnic group is Europa, and the Tajik language belongs to the Indo-European Iranian language group.


This ethhnic group has a population of about 14,000 and is scattered in cities such as Urumqi, Yining, Tacheng, Shadong and Kashgar in Xinjiang. They make use of the Uzbek language which belongs to the Altaic Turkic language family.

Tatar-7e01-fyqwiqi8554953 (1)

This ethnic group has a population of about 4,000 people and is scattered in cities such as Yining, Tacheng and Urumqi in Xinjiang. They use the Tatar language which belongs to the Altaic Turkic language group. As this ethnicity is mixed with Uygur and Kazakh people, its members also makes use of the languages of these two nationalities.


This ethnic population numbers about 87,000. It mainly lives in Xunhua Salar Autonomous County of Qinghai Province, and the rest scattered in Qinghai Province through the Hualong Hui Autonomous County and Gansu Jishishan Baoan, Dongxiang and Salar Autonomous Counties. Using the Salar language, it belongs to the Altaic Turkic language group, and although not possessing their own written script, many are versatile with Chinese ideograms, with some speaking Tibetan.


This ethnic group has a total population of about 373,000 and is mainly concentrated in the Dongxiang Autonomous County of Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province. There is more than 310,000 people gathered in the above area, whilst the rest are scattered in other counties in Linxia, Lanzhou, Ningxia, Qinghai, Xinjiang, Changji, Yili, Tacheng and other places. Their language belongs to the Altaic Mongolian language family, mixed with many others such as Turkic, Persian and Arabic vocabularies – the Dongxiang people do not have their own written script.

Bao An

This ethnic group has a population of about 10,000 people. They mainly lives in the Baoshishan Baoan, Dongxiang and Salar Autonomous Counties in Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture of Gansu Province. A small number of people live in other county towns in Linxia Autonomous Prefecture and Xunhua County in Qinghai. Use the Bao An language, belonging to the Altaic Mongolian language, which possesses no written script. There are many Chinese loanwords in the Bao An language, with most people using Chinese ideograms.



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your 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