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Reviews 149 Raphael Israeli, with the assistance of Lyn Gorman. Islam in China: A Critical Bibliography. Bibliographies and Indexes in Religious Studies, No. 29. Westport, Connecticut, and London: Greenwood Press, 1994. 172 pp. The opening quote of this work, whose tiAe promises to be a welcome addition to the growing literature on Islam and Muslims in China, suggests that the reader will be disappointed. The Foreword to this collection begins with a citation from The Cambridge Encyclopedia ofChina (which edition and volume we are not told, as no page or date are provided, and fhere were two editions, in 1982 and 1991), stating that fhere are "around 35 million" Muslims in China, "perhaps 10-15 of whom are 'ethnic Muslims' while the rest are urban." This perplexing statement, repeating an outdated, oft-repeated, and now soundly refuted population number (according to the authoritative 1990 population census, there are 18.4 million members of the official "Muslim nationalities" in China, which is the only reliable means we have of counting the actual Muslim population), confuses the record even further by asserting that the urban population are not really "ethnic" Muslims . The more than 200,000 Hui Muslims in Beijing might strongly object to this claim. Interestingly, the book contains no section on population or ethnicity, while Aiese highly contested issues are not mentioned in the index and only cursorily by the author (p. 8). The sections that are provided, however, do offer a useful overview of the literature , mainly Western, on Islam in China. Topics include bibliographies and inscriptions , historical periods, including the Imperial, Republican, and People's Republic ; culture; religion; theology; social discontent; and local reports, covering the northwest, the southwest, the southeast coast, Tibet, Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Taiwan. Surprisingly enough, there is even a section on Jews in China, perhaps because it is believed that many of the Jews have been acculturated into Muslim communities in China, and there is a growing body of literature comparing and contrasting fhe two communities. There are cross-references at the end of each category, allowing the examination of issues, both chronologically and thematically . In these days of computer-based referencing technology, this work and the series in general would benefit from making such an enormous amount of interrelated material available on disk, or in on-line form. In this regard, the auAior, title, and subject indexes provided are especially helpful. The collection draws heavily on pre-1950 Western-language journal and trav- , TT . elogue reports, especially now-discontinued serials such as Asiatic Quarterly Re-© 1994 by Universityo r r / ofHawai'iPressview (1886-1966)> China's Millions (1876-1952), The Chinese Recorder (18681938 ), Current Scene (1961-1978), Friends ofMuslims (1927-1951), Revue du Monde Musulman (1906-1926), and Revue de l'Orient Chrétien (1896-1946). Di- 150 China Review International: Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 1994 recting the reader to such widely scattered earlier reports on Islam in China is one of the main contributions of this collection. Unfortunately, the material is never evaluated in terms of its usefulness or accuracy, and since many of these journals are now very difficult to locate, this is particularly disappointing. Indeed, the main limitation of this collection is its failure to be a "critical bibliography " as its tide suggests. The reader is only informed that Aiese items exist, wiAi abbreviated information or none at all as to their content. No evaluation of the quality of the material, both in terms ofhistorical validity or as primary source material, is provided. Indeed, many of the references serve in many cases as "texts" themselves, revealing the biases of Aie writers and their points ofview, rather than as reliable sources about the Muslims of whom they write. Indeed, Israeli's own view, that Islam in China has always been a "confrontation" (p. 14) between two inherenfiy oppositional cultures, resulting in either rebellion or assimilation , pervades his earlier work and the organization of the material in this volume, yielding a selective preference that portrays Muslims in China as either rebellious by nature (section 7) or completely assimilated, becoming "Chinese in race and language" (p. 8). As a bibliography, the collection primarily reproduces pre-1950 works that have been referred to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 149-152
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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