中国和伊斯兰教 China and Islam

There is more in common between the two than you can think about, starting with history.

As I posted yesterday in a review of a book on “L’Islam in Cina e l’onda della primavera araba”:
“A short yet interesting book on the relationship between China and Islam- since the beginning.

The introductory chapters are a treasure throve of historical references (references that, thanks to archive.org, can be complemented by reading the sources for free) and a ‘map’ across history.

The weakest part of the book is the one outlining the “Arab Springs” and their impact on China- albeit links to articles and essays available online (in English), and whose content is basically rehashed in Italian within the book can help redress the balance.

This book could be complemented by a more focused collections of articles and essays on the Arab Springs and their origins, published in 2011 by Foreign Affairs:

The New Arab Revolt: What Happened, What It Means, and What Comes Next

Worth an expanded treatment are instead the notes here and there across the book on the potential evolution of the exchanges between Turkey and China (moreover considering the “new Silk Road” investments)- but probably that will be covered by the same authors quoted within the books (follow the links online).“

As I was born in a Catholic country, where we are used to a separation between Church and State (in this context, both uppercase), I was reminded from another book on China that I am currently reading of an answer that Mao Zedong gave to Edgar Snow: “wu fa wu tian” (无法无天), that the author actually expands, so that you can read the answer as wu fa wu tianzhu 无法无天主.

For the time being, probably I will just share that I see the similarity in the “immanence” (the concept of being immanent, i.e. “pervasive” or “ubiquitous”, in current parlance)- in one case (Islam) of religion within society, in the other case (China) of something different, that ensured the continued life of Chinese culture for thousands of years, despite wars, internecine wars, invasions that were absorbed, foreign presence, and the “transfiguration” of the Chinese Empire into first the Republic, then the “one country, two (or three) systems” (I wrote about that in “The future of yiguoliangzhi 一国两制” https://wodeshudian.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/the-future-of-yi-guo-liang-zhi/).

I actually had decided to read something about this subject a while ago, but meanwhile the events evolved faster than my readings- see e.g. the recent Al Qaeda threats to China (Al-Qaeda Declares War on China, Too 2014-10-22): as with climate and the management of shared resources, we are all within the same global boat.

It is always interesting when, by reading a book, I push a little bit back (or forward, depends at how you look it- I see it as an advance into uncharted territory, and therefore I push back the obstacle) the boundaries of my ignorance.

In this case, it is the typical “how comes that I did not think about that before”, as the contacts between Islam and China happened much earlier than I assumed from my previous readings- but this makes sense, if you consider the history of Islam, and the “Silk road”: both linked by trade.

As I wrote within the review, the book contains here and there links that either point to articles on various websites, or refer to books that are old enough to be outside the scope of copyright- and available for free on archive.org.

I obviously will read few books more, and I could write few pages rehashing what I read, what I think- and what I wrote in the past, e.g. considering how a de facto regional power that is always between two worlds (Turkey) could turn into both a partner and gatekeeper for two entities that aspire to become global powers, EU and China- in both cases, because they have been global powers in the past (and the new “Silk road” and Trans-Siberian railroad will expand on that).

Anyway, it is probably more in keeping with the spirit of this “language and culture learning blog” to share material that could be useful, and not just my ideas (for the latter, I will probably eventually post something on my blog).

Therefore, I skipped the references to old and new books (the former, because I will have first to read them, the latter, because in most cases are just structuring what you can read elsewhere), and selected few links from the book and other sources worth sharing (in chronological order).

The focus is, obviously, the Arab Springs and their impact on China, and the relationship between China and Islam since then, but starting with an interview to an Italian General who was working in China in the 1990s.

Fabio Mini – intervista su “L’altra strategia”

Female Imams Blaze Trail Amid China’s Muslims

China and the Arab World 2011-03-24

Arab Spring, Chinese Winter 2011-09

China spending big money to avoid Arab spring fever 2011-11-21

The Arab Spring’s Chinese roots… and future? 2012-02

Chinese Muslims and The ‘Arab Spring’ 2012-07-24

Document 9: A ChinaFile Translation 2013-08-11

China Takes Aim at Western Ideas 2013-08-20

The Two Faces of the Uyghurs 2014-05-19

Al-Qaeda Declares War on China, Too 2014-10-22

For the time being… have a nice week!

PS Please read the introduction to understand how to use this website 🙂

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