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Islam in Republic of China Period

In 1911, Sun Yat-sen led the 1911 revolution and overthrew the Qing dynasty, China entered a new historical period, the Republic of China.

During this era, Chinese Muslim were freed from the high pressure of the Qing government. Affected by the revolution ideological trend, Chinese Muslim gradually stepped out of the closed state. Their national consciousness also gradually enhanced and began to make various demands on the equality of political status, the improvement of economic life, the development of culture education and the freedom of religious belief.

Some Muslim scholars with religious knowledge and modern brains became more aware of the reform and begun a new Islamic culture movement.

The Establishment of New Muslim Schools

Niujie Mosque

Before and after the 1911 revolution, Muslim in the mainland actively carried out cultural movements, reformed religion, developed education, and promoted the adaptation of Chinese Islam to the new historical trend.

Some prominent figures in the Islamic world linked the fate of the country to the destiny of the nation and religion, and put the survival of the country, "patriotic and guaranty", in the first place.

In the face of the realistic conditions like too few Muslims studying at that time, some people had only a one-sided and narrow understanding of religion, they emphasized the need to develop the economic, culture and edcation of hui people. Only on the premise of education and industry prosperity, religion can show the charm of its own.

With their advocacy and promotion, the new Muslim schools sprung up in Muslim communities across the country.

These new schools were fundamentally different from traditional religious education. First of all, on the education content and curriculum, new schools primarily taught the natural knowledge and social science (such as history, geography, math, science and so on), just as other social schools. At the same time, the new school set up a special religious curriculum. Second, in addition to cultivating the religious talents needed by Islam itself (not to cultivate Imams as the only target) the new school aimed to cultivate the talents needed in society. In this way, the graduates of the new school can be all over the society, not just in the church. Although some schools were located in mosques or managed by mosques, the way they ran schools had socialized the new schools and had had a positive impact on the community. 

Some more famous new Muslim primary schools were as the following. Muyuan School created in 1906 by the famous Muslim, Tong Zong, in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province. Kaijin Elementary School set up in 1906 by the educator, Ma Lingyi in Shaoyang, Hunan Province. Jingshi No.1 Two Grade Elementary School held by Imam Wang Kuan in Beijing Niujie Mosque.

At the same time, the new secondary education was gradually being valued by Muslims and a number of secondary schools were established. Such as the Halal Middle School founded in 1928 (later renamed "Northwest Public School"), the Muxing Middle School founded by Sun Zhongwei et al. in Hangzhou in 1928, the Ming De Middle School founded by Yang Wenbo et al. in Kunming, Yunnan province in 1930, the Xinyue Middle School for Girls founded in Beijing in 1935.

Muslim School

In addition, Muslim secondary normal schools started to be built. Such as Shanghai Islamic Moslem Language Normal School, Wanxian Islamic Normal School in Sichuan, Yunting Normal School in Ningxia, etc. Among them, Yunting Normal School was the first public normal school in China. And the most remarkable one was the Chengda Normal School.
This school was a new type of modern Islamic school in China, which played an important role in the Islamic education, Hui education and the teaching of modern Arabic in China. In 1949, when the People's Republic of China was founded, Chengda Normal University and Northwest Public School merged to form the first Hui nationality college in China—Hui College.

Islamic Societies and Activities

Muslim education

At the beginning of the 20th century, a group of Muslim intellectuals who had received new education were actively organizing national or local Muslim communities. These societies were different from the general church. They did not directly organize the Muslim religious activities, but only strengthened the connection between the Muslim, pushed on the academic research of Islam, held a variety of nation activity and had great social influence.

The societies established during the Republic of China were generally divided into cultural societies, academic societies, religious societies, education societies youth societies and charities.

In July 1912, Wang Kuan, Hou Deshan et al launched the "China Muslim conference" in Beijing. By 1936, the society had established more than 200 branches in various provinces, becoming the largest and most extensive hui folk cultural group in China at that time.

The Beijing Muslim Society in 1917 was one of the early academic groups in the modern history of Chinese Islam.

The most famous religious community was the China Muslim association. Such groups also include the Republic of China Muslim Association in Nanjing, the Tianjin Muslim Association in tianjin and the Chinese Muslim Club in Hong Kong.

The education group included the Department of Inducement Lanzhou Muslim while the youth group included Chinese Mohammedan Student Association in Nanjing.

Islamic Publishing Agencies and Muslim Publications

With the development of new education and the rise of Muslim communities, the publication of Islam books and newspapers entered a new stage of development. During this period, there were some famous book publishing and distribution organizations. For example, Beiping Chengda Normal Publishing Division, Beiping Muslim Book and Newspaper Office, China Islam Classic Publishing House, Shanghai Muslim Book Club, Shanghai Islamic Culture Supply Agency.


From 1920s to the founding of new China, the whole translation of the Koran was published in succession.

Chinese Muslims in the Anti-Japanese War

Chinese Muslims in the Anti-Japanese War

In 1937, Japan launched the war of aggression against China. Ethnic Muslims, especially Hui Muslims, were actively engaged in the Anti-Japanese War. 

Among them, there was a well-known Anti-Japanese armed force named "Jizhong Military Area Hui Nation Detachment" which was organized by the Muslims spontaneously. Over the past six years, the team experienced more than 870 battles, eliminated more than 36,700 Japanese puppet soldiers and seized a great number of guns, ammunition, horses and military supplies. They attacked and destroyed hundreds of the enemy’s pillboxes, strongholds, railways and bridges and made a brilliant combat record.

During the Anti-Japanese War, there were many other Muslim Anti-Japanese armed forces, such as the Zaozhuang Anti-Japanese National Liberation Vanguard Group founded in 1937, Hui people Anti-Japanese National Army founded in Cangzhou in 1937, Zaozhuang Muslim partisan troops and the Erlong Muslim Camp founded in 1938, Muslim partisan troops founded in 1939 in Jiangsu Province, the Muslim partisan troops founded in 1944 in Luoning County.

Muslim's Struggle against Nation Discrimination

Although the revolution of 1911 overthrew the Qing dynasty, the Islamic policies of the Beiyang Government and the Nanjing National Government were still based on national prejudice and political repression. They did not recognize the ethnic status of the Hui people and denied that the Hui was a nation. These political roots led some people to spread insults and rumors orally or on newspapers and magazines, based on the despicable purpose of creating ethnic conflicts.

A mass of Muslim people were subjected to humiliation and had to rectify which led to numerous cases of bullying and anti-bullying.

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