China is a big country with a huge population. There are 56 ethnic groups in China, among which 10 ethnic groups believe in Islam, traditionally speaking. We can see that Muslims account for an important part in China. Actually Muslims almost live with non-Muslims everywhere in China, of course there are several regions where Muslims are the principal residents like Ningxia Province. So what do Chinese think of Muslims?
Unlike the European people, most Chinese don’t follow a religion. Thus, the sense of religion does not seem to be so strong among the Chinese people. Most Chinese people began to know about Islam through Muslim friends or through Halal restaurants which can be seen in almost every city in China.
In China, most Muslims attend the same school as non-Muslims, and in professional life, there are almost no differences between them. Therefore, the Chinese people see Muslims as the same as themselves except for the look (Some Muslims look quite different while some look the same as non-Muslim Chinese people) and some living habits.
As for the look, the Chinese people think some Muslims are better looking since they have a western-style face with tall nose and big eyes. There are many Muslim stars who are very popular on the screen. As for living habits, some people may have wrong understandings, thinking Muslims are mysterious, and are not easy to get on well with etc. Such wrong understandings can be corrected when they have Muslim friends. Plus, the popularity of Halal restaurants also brings Muslims and Islam closer to other people. In Xi’an, Moslem Street where all restaurants are Halal has become a world-famous tourist attraction.
Places where Muslims are the principal residents remain relatively mysterious to the Chinese people. In recent years, more and more Chinese non-Muslims have visited these places and learned more about Islamic culture. There are also many people who are eager to know more about Islam. Finally, we ca say that Islam in China has a bright future.
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