This essay is part of the series “All About China”—a journey into the history and diverse culture of China through essays that shed light on the lasting imprint of China’s past encounters with the Islamic world as well as an exploration of the increasingly vibrant and complex dynamics of contemporary Sino-Middle Eastern relations. Read more ...
One of the most striking characteristics of the discourse surrounding China’s mass detention program in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) is the silence of Arab governments. Qatar is the only Arab country to have voiced criticism of China’s incarceration of over 1.5 million Muslim minorities in so-called “reeducation camps,” while Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) endorsed the program as part of China’s counterterrorism policy.
Some commentators have largely attributed this solid front across the Arab world to the economic power China wields in the region. The findings here do not challenge that assertion, but instead supplement the current understanding of China’s economic role in the region with its soft-power aspirations. Part of China’s approach is a sustained soft-power campaign through Islamic institutions and Arabic-language Chinese state media. Central to this task is the Chinese Islamic Association (中国伊斯兰教协会 or الجمعية الاسلامية الصينية).
This article analyzes the coverage by Arabic-language Chinese state media of the Chinese Islamic Association’s activities following three key dates during Beijing’s increased securitization in Xinjiang: 1) the Urumqi Riots in July 2009, which left more than 200 dead; 2) the Kunming mass stabbing on March 1, 2014, in which knife-wielding Uyghurs reportedly killed 31 people and wounded 130; and 3) the mass detention program itself, which has been reported since 2017.
As this article will demonstrate, state-led representatives for the Chinese Islamic Association have adopted a three-pronged approach to craft the Xinjiang narrative for an Arabic-speaking audience: defending the uniqueness of Chinese Islam and warning of the threat of foreign influence; engaging in “Hajj diplomacy”; and conducting exchanges with Muslim leaders and Islamic institutions.
Origins of the Chinese Islamic Association
The Chinese Islamic Association was established in 1953 with Burhan Shahidi, the first governor of Xinjiang, selected as its chair. This entity was the only legally approved association for Chinese Muslims at a time when religious courts were being forcibly replaced by “People’s Courts” as the early communist regime sought to establish its authority.
By 1966, Mao Zedong had launched the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution,” an incendiary campaign against his own Party that would throw the country into chaos for a decade and rupture the regime’s relations with minority subjects. For China’s Muslims, traditions would suffer heavily, with mosques requisitioned to house swine — an affront to Islamic culture — and many religious leaders forced to publicly consume pork while others were tortured and even beaten to death with Qur’ans by communist Red Guards. Across the country, local Islamic associations were dissolved, with Mao waging a war on what he defined as “backward local superstitions” like religion. When, following Mao’s death in 1976 the Cultural Revolution ended, China found itself internationally isolated and its relationship with the Soviet Union was growing increasingly hostile.
China’s geopolitical struggle with the Soviet Union contributed substantially to the international expansion of the Chinese Islamic Association’s activities. Moscow’s 1979 invasion of Afghanistan put Beijing on high alert, with military strategists seeing it as part of a Soviet drive to encircle China. Fears of Soviet aggression were so widespread that Beijing embarked on a covert operation to supply the Afghan mujahideen with weapons and supplies. However, the Soviet invasion also furthered China’s domestic as well as its international agenda by allowing it to promote itself as a friend and ally of the Islamic world. On January 5, 1980, the Chinese Islamic Association stated that, because of its close ties with the Afghan people, it would not tolerate the “Soviet hegemonist invasion.” During the Islamic Foreign Ministers’ Conference in Islamabad in January 1980, China lobbied via the Association for support against the Soviet Union. Beijing emphasized that if Muslim countries did not oppose the Soviet Union, one of them might become Moscow’s next target.
Beijing advanced its aim of presenting a favorable image in and inducing cooperation from Muslim-majority states by loosening some restrictions on its Muslim minority in Xinjiang. The Xinjiang Islamic Association was allowed to meet for the first time since its dissolution during the Cultural Revolution. An Arabic alphabet was reinstated for the Uyghur language. In addition, thousands of mosques were built or reopened, some with funds from the World Muslim League.
Since the launching of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, Islamic soft power has been promoted by Beijing in a bid to build relations in Central Asia and across the Muslim world in a bid to secure much-needed energy and boost trade. The Arab world has become particularly important to China strategically, given its links to international markets and vast oil reserves. The growing strategic importance of Arab countries to China has, in turn, made them the latest targets of Chinese Islamic soft power.
In 2018, the Chinese Islamic Association made headlines outside of The People’s Daily Arabic, even gaining coverage in outlets like Al Jazeera. The president of the Association, Yang Famming, delivered a speech before an advisory body of the National People’s Congress in Beijing in which he warned his fellow Muslims of “creeping ّIslamization” and the dangers of foreign influence. Yang, who also goes by the Arabic name Hasan, urged his fellow Muslims to adhere to local practices that honored the long history of Chinese Islam.
Yang Famming’s speech and its relatively widespread coverage reflects one of the major messaging strategies of the Chinese Islamic Association over the years: lauding the uniqueness of Chinese Islam and its compliance with Party ideology, while urging caution against foreign influence. Under Xi Jinping, this ideological campaign has expanded dramatically since 2016, with calls to “Sinicize” the country’s religions. One of the central aims of this campaign is to reduce visible links between Islam in China and Islam in the Arab world, including the removal of domes from mosques and their replacement with the green-tiled, upturned eaves seen in traditional Chinese architecture. Sinicization also involves the “four-enter” policy whereby every mosque must feature a Chinese flag; propaganda about the country’s laws on religion; promotional materials for “core socialist values,” and statements praising China’s traditional culture. Sinicization also includes restrictions on religious culture, including burial rites, Arabic language, and limits on Islamic iconography in Muslim businesses.
In crafting a narrative for an Arab audience that conveys a positive image, China has sought to ‘sanitize’ its sinicization campaign by discrediting complaints of repression against Muslim Uyghurs. This rhetorical delegitimizing of Uyghurs’ Muslim identity serves the purpose of differentiating them from co-regionists in the Arab world who might otherwise empathize with their plight. This approach goes hand-in-hand with China’s other efforts to delegitimize civil society activity by linking it with foreign actors and security issues, including most notably the 2017 regulations that require foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to register with the government.
As the Urumqi riots of July 5-10, 2009 unfolded, this tactic was brought to the forefront in Arabic-language Chinese state media. On July 8, The People’s Daily ran an interview with then-president of the Chinese Islamic Association, Chen Guangyuan, also known as Hilal al-Din. Chen stated that the “fraudulent riots” are against the spirit of Islam and are criminal acts that cannot be forgiven. He also blamed foreign leaders for the unrest. A July 17 piece run in the same paper quoted the Vice President of the Association, Atrijian Ajkrim, as saying that the state’s closure of mosques during the riots is permissible under Islamic law in crises such as epidemics or wars. Five days later, The People’s Daily published an interview with Chen, who outlined the Association’s support for and compliance with 2006 state regulations for religious life in China.
In August of 2009, The People’s Daily broke from its usual style of Arabic coverage and published an Arabic translation of the strident Chinese propaganda piece, “Children of the Different Nationalities in Xinjiang Build Steel Walls to Protect Social Stability.” In the article, the Chinese Islamic Association is credited with printing and disseminating Chinese and Uyghur translations of anti-extremist Islamic texts that were roundly supported by local, loyal Muslims. The banner above the archived article alternates between a picture memorializing Michael Jackson and pictures of Chinese soldiers emblazoned with the caption “The Task of Peace — 2009.”
The following May, the Chinese Islamic Association again appeared in The People’s Daily, this time condemning what it alleged to be “rumors” spread by the American International Religious Freedom Committee that Muslims in China face persecution. Chen, who is introduced in this article as an Imam, stated that the report the committee released engages with terrorism and practices double standards. According to Chen, those who initiated the unrest are not representative of Islam and Chinese Muslims support the government in taking punitive measures against those responsible.
The same talking points reappeared in The People’s Daily Arabic coverage after the Kunming knife attacks on March 1, 2014. The then-vice president of the association, Wang Xu Li, released a statement condemning the attack as the handiwork of terrorists and as un-Islamic. Wang went on to state that Muslims in China enjoy religious freedom. In September, the Association was featured in an article on China Network Arabic for its work translating and distributing Islamic texts that promote patriotism to Muslims in Xinjiang. The Association encouraged Imams to use these works to solve contemporary issues and stated it plans to continue publishing similar materials.
The March 2018 headlines from Yang Famming’s speech are emblematic of contemporary Chinese Islamic Association messaging amidst reports of the Muslim detention program which began in 2017. In July, a BBC Arabic piece circulated the news that the Chinese Islamic Association instructed mosques to reject Arab-style mosque architecture and to build in the Chinese style instead. In January of 2018, the Kuwaiti Islamic magazine al-Mujtama’ published a story that claimed the Association would teach socialist values to Muslims. In December 2019, China’s state television network CGTN Arabic ran a piece in which the Chinese Islamic Association condemned the passage of the Uyghur Human Rights Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, stating that the Chinese government defends the right of religious freedom.
While the Hajj as an institution is ostensibly free from political interference, the nature of the annual pilgrimage makes it an opportunity to conduct diplomacy — an opportunity that traditionally China has sought to exploit. The famous Chinese Muslim sailor Zheng He, along with his Muslim crew, completed Hajj during one of his voyages to the Middle East. These voyages were ordered by the Ming Dynasty in order to project their authority to their neighbors and return with strategic knowledge.  The descriptions they brought back were some of the most accurate accounts of life in the Arab world that had existed in China. During the Republican period, Chiang Kai-Shek’s government sent two Hajj delegations to the Hijaz with the purpose of warning the world of the perils China faced from Japan in 1938 and 1939. Japanese-occupied Manchuria sent their own rival Hajj delegation at the same time.
The Chinese Islamic Association began organizing the People’s Republic’s first Hajj missions infrequently from 1955 and then annually from 1985 as part of the PRC’s opening and reform. Like clockwork every year, the Chinese Islamic Association publishes the success of each year’s Hajj on its website. However, in The People’s Daily Arabic, articles that cite the Association’s role in orchestrating Hajj only appear over four years: 2009, 2011, 2017, and 2018. The articles, with the exception of a long-form piece in 2011, follow a similar narrative: citing the number of pilgrims, listing the cities from which flights departed, and acknowledging the Association’s role in handling visa services for Hajj pilgrims. In 2009, the article contained subtle references to the unrest in Xinjiang in July. Urumqi, the site of the riots, is listed first among the cities from which Hajj flights departed — unlike in previous years. Then-vice president of the Association, Yang Qibo, was quoted saying that Uyghurs had been given an increased number of slots in that year’s delegation.
In addition to The People’s Daily Arabic coverage of the Association’s Hajj activities, the Chinese Islamic Association appears in a documentary on Chinese pilgrims called Chinese Hajj in English and طريق الحج in Arabic, co-produced by National Geographic Asia and the China International Movie TV-Center.. It follows the journey of five Muslims from different parts of China as they complete Hajj. One of the documentary’s subjects is a Muslim Uyghur man from Kashgar. The documentary was shown on the National Geographic’s Asia Network on February 5, 2012, which The People’s Daily Arabic noted coincided with the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, a detail that is neglected in English state media articles. Filming for the project began in 2010, the next Hajj cycle after the Urumqi Riots. The Chinese Islamic Association’s officials appear numerous times throughout the documentary, processing visas or otherwise organizing the trip. Chinese Hajj, which notes that China requires pilgrims to be “patriotic” in order to be selected, does not mention any of the controversies surrounding Muslim life in China. After its initial run in the Asia Pacific, the film was broadcast in 165 countries in 35 languages, including in Arabic and in Uyghur.
The Association’s Hajj diplomacy has not gone completely without criticism in the post-2017 period of coverage. In 2018, Post Arabi ran an article on the outcry caused by a picture of that year’s pilgrims with Chinese government-provided trackers on their necks. In the story, the Association stated that the trackers were entirely for the safety of pilgrims.
Exchanges with Muslim Leaders and Islamic Institutions
The Association also arranges and participates in official exchanges with Muslim leaders and Islamic institutions. In the context of the Arab world, when leaders visit China or Chinese Muslims interact with visitors from the region, Association officials are present to project a positive image and to familiarize themselves with those leaders who might otherwise be China’s biggest critics.
The first of these visits after the Urumqi Riots in 2009 was from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Based in Saudi Arabia, the OIC is the world’s second-largest multilateral organization with 57 member states and has branded itself as the “collective voice of the Muslim world.” After the riots, the OIC sent a high-level fact-finding delegation, headed by Ambassador Sayed Kassem al-Masry, to China that visited Beijing, Ningxia, and Xinjiang. In addition to meeting with state officials, the delegation met with then-president of the Chinese Islamic Association, Chen Guangyuan.
In an interview with The People’s Daily Arabic in October 2009, Association Vice President Yang Qibo elaborated on the strong exchanges that the Chinese Islamic Association had created with Arab Muslims. These included religious exchange programs with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Kuwait. Yang pointed to the fact the Association had sent 40 students to religious institutions in the Arab world and that Chinese Muslims had participated in Qur’an recitation competitions in Saudi Arabia. Yang went on to praise the Chinese government for hosting activities such as the Ningxia Islamic Food Expo, the Hui Merchants’ Conference, and an Arabic calligraphy exhibition. Yang stated that all of these events enhanced bilateral ties.
This strategy was more widespread following the March 2014 Kunming attacks. Two months after the attacks, the Chinese Islamic Association hosted a religious conference in Urumqi that was attended by Islamic scholars and international officials. President of the Association Chen Guangyuan and Vice President Guo Cheng Chen both delivered speeches. Later that year, the Chinese Islamic Association led the visiting King Salman (then Crown Prince) of Saudi Arabia on tours of Chinese mosques. The Saudi Crown Prince subsequently donated $3 million for the construction of Islamic and cultural centers in China.
In 2019, al-Ahram published an article in which the Chinese Islamic Association lauded the exchange program it organized with al-Azhar University in Egypt, one of the most preeminent Islamic centers in the world. The article mentioned that in the Association’s own post about al-Azhar on its website, the Association praised the work of al-Azhar in combatting violent extremism in the Muslim world. In August of 2019, President Yang Famming met with the Imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, to discuss Hajj.
In a world of aligned Chinese and Arab economic interests, the Chinese Islamic Association is a powerful tool in China’s soft power campaign to ensure regional silence on Xinjiang. Through Sinicizing Islam, Hajj diplomacy, and exchanges with Muslim leaders and Islamic institutions, the Association grants China the legitimacy that economic clout alone cannot offer. While Chinese soft power has yet to gain a true foothold in the Arab world, Chinese Islamic soft power has penetrated high levels of Muslim Arab leadership and Islamic Institutions and contributed to the region’s muted stance on Xinjiang.
 Stephanie Nebehay, “1.5 Million Muslims Could Be Detained in China's Xinjiang: Academic,” Thomson Reuters, March 13, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-xinjiang-rights/15-million-muslims-could-be-detained-in-chinas-xinjiang-academic-idUSKCN1QU2MQ; Austin Ramzy and Chris Buckley, “‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims,” The New York Times, November 16, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/16/world/asia/china-xinjiang-documents.html; https://www.aspi.org.au/report/uyghurs-sale; “More Evidence of China's Horrific Abuses in Xinjiang,” Human Rights Watch, June 20, 2020, https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/02/20/more-evidence-chinas-horrific-abuses-xinjiang; Zainab Fattah, “Qatar Withdraws Support for China Over Its Treatment of Muslims,” Bloomberg, August 21, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-21/qatar-withdraws-support-for-china-over-its-treatment-of-muslims.
 Michelle Nichols, “Saudi Arabia Defends Letter Backing China's Xinjiang Policy,” Thomson Reuters, July 18, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-rights-saudi/saudi-arabia-defends-letter-backing-chinas-xinjiang-policy-idUSKCN1UD36J.
 John Calabrese, “Arab Gulf States Silent on China’s Xinjiang Crackdown,” Middle East Institute, May 18, 2020, https://www.mei.edu/publications/arab-gulf-states-silent-chinas-xinjiang-crackdown.
 For discussions of China’s deployment of soft power in the Middle East, see for example: Mordechai Chaziza, “China’s Outbound Tourism as a Soft Power Tool in the Middle East,” Middle East Institute, November 12, 2019, https://www.mei.edu/publications/chinas-outbound-tourism-soft-power-tool-middle-east; Mimi Kirk, “Chinese Soft Power and Dubai's Confucius Institute,” Middle East Institute, June 17, 2020, https://www.mei.edu/publications/chinese-soft-power-and-dubais-confucius-institute; and Ben Simpfendorfer, The New Silk Road: How a Rising Arab World Is Turning Away from the West and Rediscovering China (Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
 The activities of the Chinese Islamic Association are primarily covered by Arabic-language Chinese state media. The People’s Daily Arabic is by far the main conduit for the Chinese Islamic Association’s messaging in the Middle East. Of the major Arabic news sources — Al Jazeera, al-Arabiya, and al-Ahram — the Association has only made a few appearances over the past decade. This is reflective of the nascent, state-led nature of Chinese soft power in the region, although China has worked for the past two decades to increase its sway.
 For a discussion of the state securitization strategy in Xinjiang, see for example: Joanne Smith Finley, “Securitization, insecurity and conflict in contemporary Xinjiang: has PRC counter-terrorism evolved into state terror?,” Central Asian Survey 38, 1 (2019): 1-26, DOI: 10.1080/02634937.2019.1586348; Adrian Zenz and James Liebold, “Chen Quanguo: The Strongman Behind Beijing’s Securitization Strategy in Tibet and Xinjiang,” China Brief 17, 2 (September 21, 2017), https://jamestown.org/program/chen-quanguo-the-strongman-behind-beijings-securitization-strategy-in-tibet-and-xinjiang/; Marie Trédaniel and Pak K. Lee, “Explaining the Chinese framing of the ‘terrorist’ violence in Xinjiang: insights from securitization theory,” Nationalities Papers 46, 1 (2018): 177-195, DOI: 10.1080/00905992.2017.1351427.
 “Repression Stalks China’s Uighurs, 10 Years after Urumqi Riots,” Al Jazeera, July 5, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/07/repression-stalks-china-uighurs-10-years-urumqi-riots-190705045804805.html.
 “China Executes Three for Kunming Stabbing Attack: Court,” ABC News, March 24, 2015, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-24/china-executes-three-for-kunming-attack-court-says/6344816.
 The term “Hajj diplomacy” refers to Chinese Muslim delegations to the Hajj disptached for the purpose of enhancing China’s image and relations with Muslim states and societies. See Alain Gresh, “Hajj diplomacy,” Le Monde Diplomatique, January 2011, https://mondediplo.com/2011/01/11hajj; and Naser M. Al-Tamimi, China-Saudi Arabia Relations, 1990-2012: Marriage of convenience or strategic alliance? (London: Routledge, 2014) 60-62.
 Justin Jacobs, Studies on Ethnic Groups in China (University of Washington Press, June 6, 2017), https://uwapress.uw.edu/book/9780295742649/xinjiang-and-the-modern-chinese-state/.
 Frank Dikotter, The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962-1976 (London: Bloomsbury Press, 2016).
 S. Frederick Starr (ed.), Xinjiang: China’s Muslim Borderland (Armonk and London: M.E. Sharpe, 2004).
 Fuquan Li, “The Role of Islam in the Development of the ‘Belt and Road Initiative,’” Asian Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies 12, 1 (2018): 25-35.
 “مقالة : الدورتان السنويتان مصدر الهام للقادة الدينيين” [“Article: The two annual sessions are a source of inspiration for religious leaders”], The People’s Daily Arabic, March 15, 2018, http://arabic.people.com.cn/n3/2018/0315/c31664-9437236.html; “‘مسؤول صيني يدعو لممارسة الإسلام ‘المحلي,” الجزيرة نت: آخر أخبار اليوم حول العالم” [“Chinese Official Calls for the Practice of ‘Local’ Islam”], Al Jazeera, March 11, 2018, https://aja.me/5bvd9.
 “3rd Plenary Meeting of 1st Session of 13th CPPCC National Committee Held,” Xinhua, March 10, 2018, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-03/10/c_137029573_13.htm.
 “China’s Repression of Islam is Spreading Beyond Xinjiang,” The Economist, September 26, 2019, https://www.economist.com/china/2019/09/26/chinas-repression-of-islam-is-spreading-beyond-xinjiang.
 David R. Stroup, “The De-Islamification of Public Space and Sinicization of Ethnic Politics in Xi’s China,” Middle East Institute, September 24, 2019, https://www.mei.edu/publications/de-islamification-public-space-and-sinicization-ethnic-politics-xis-china.
 “Fact Sheet on China’s Foreign NGO Law,” ChinaFile, November 1, 2017, https://www.chinafile.com/ngo/latest/fact-sheet-chinas-foreign-ngo-law.
 “الجمعية الإسلامية الصينية: احداث //5 يوليو// تخالف الروح الاسلامية الاساسية مخالفة شديدة” [“China Islamic Association: The Events of ‘July 5’ Violate the Fundamental Islamic Spirit Very Violently”], The People's Daily Arabic, July 8, 2009, http://arabic.people.com.cn/31664/6695898.html.
 “نائب رئيس الجمعية الإسلامية الصينية: إغلاق المساجد لا يخالف الشريعة الاسلامية عند الضرورات الطارئة” [“Vice President of the Chinese Islamic Association: Closing Mosques Does Not Violate Islamic Law When Urgent”], The People’s Daily Arabic, July 17, 2009, http://arabic.people.com.cn/31664/6703290.html.
 “المسلمون الصينيون ولوائح الشؤون الدينية الصينية” [“Chinese Muslims and Chinese Religious Affairs Regulations”], The People’s Daily Arabic, July 22, 2009, http://arabic.people.com.cn/31664/6707180.html.
 “مقالة : ابناء الشعب من مختلف القوميات فى شينجيانغ سور فولاذى يحمى الاستقرار الاجتماعى ” [“Article: People of Different Ethnicities in Xinjiang Build Steel Walls to Protect Social Stability”], The People’s Daily Arabic, August 10, 2009, http://arabic.people.com.cn/31664/6722810.html.
 “الاوساط الدينية الصينية تعرب عن استيائها الشديد ومعارضتها الحازمة ضد الشائعات التى تروجها لجنة الحرية الدينية الدولية الامريكية” [“Chinese Religious Circles Express Strong Dissatisfaction and Resolute Opposition Against Rumors Circulated by the American International Religious Freedom Committee”], The People’s Daily Arabic, May 10, 2010, http://arabic.people.com.cn/96604/6978252.html.
 “مسؤول اسلامي صيني: أعمال العنف والإرهاب تخالف الشريعة الاسلامية” [“Chinese Islamic Official: Violence and Terrorism Violate Islamic Law”], The People’s Daily Arabic, March 3, 2014, http://arabic.people.com.cn/31664/8552627.html.
 “ خمسة كتب إسلامية مُترجَمة تصدر في الصين” [“Five Translated Islamic Books Published in China”], China Network Arabic, September 5, 2014, http://arabic.china.org.cn/china/txt/2014-09/05/content_33441324.htm.
 “الجمعية الإسلامية الصينية تفرض ‘القيم الاشتراكية’ على مسلمي البلاد ” [“The Chinese Islamic Association Imposes ‘Socialist Values’ on the Country's Muslims”], Al-Mujtama’, January 10, 2019, https://mugtama.com/issues2/item/81141-2019-01-10-08-32-01.html.
 “ جمعية أكاديمية صينية تدين تمرير مشروع قانون حول شينجيانغ من قبل مجلس النواب الأمريكي ,” العربية CGTN – أخبار الصين والعالم، الحوار والتعليقات، الموضوعات” [“A Chinese Academic Association Condemns the Passage of a Bill on Xinjiang by the US House of Representatives”], CGTN, December 5, 2019, https://arabic.cgtn.com/n/BfIcA-DAA-BEA/CcFaEA/index.html.
 Hyunhee Park, Mapping the Chinese and Islamic Worlds (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).
 Yufeng Mao, “A Muslim Vision for the Chinese Nation: Chinese Pilgrimage Missions to Mecca during World War II,” The Journal of Asian Studies 70, 2 (2011): 373-95.
 “مسلم صيني يتوجهون إلى مكة المكرمة لأداء فريضة الحج هذا العام 12700” [“12700 Chinese Muslims Head to Mecca for the Hajj Pilgrimage This Year”], The People’s Daily Arabic, October 15, 2009, http://arabic.people.com.cn/31664/6784758.html; “من الصين إلى مكة: رحلة ثلاثة أجيال، الوجهة واحدة والظروف مختلفة” [“From China to Mecca: A Journey of Three Generations, One Destination, and Different Conditions”], The People’s Daily Arabic, January 4, 2011, http://arabic.people.com.cn/31660/7249346.html; “ الدفعة الأولى من الحجاج الصينيين وصلوا إلى السعودية” [“The First Batch of Pilgrims Arrives in Saudi Arabia”], The People’s Daily Arabic, July 31, 2017, http://arabic.people.com.cn/n3/2017/0731/c31660-9249032.html; and “ألف مسلم صيني وصلوا إلى مكة لأداء فريضة الحج لعام ” [“12,000 Chinese Muslims Arrive in Mecca to Perform the Hajj Pilgrimage for the Year”], The People’s Daily Arabic, August 15, 2018, http://arabic.people.com.cn/n3/2018/0808/c31660-9488957.html.
 “ مسلم صيني يتوجهون إلى مكة المكرمة لأداء فريضة الحج هذا العام 12700” [“12700 Chinese Muslims Head to Mecca for the Hajj Pilgrimage This Year”], The People’s Daily Arabic, October 15, 2009, http://arabic.people.com.cn/31664/6784758.html.
 The Chinese Hajj,” National Geographic (2011), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lzonghewb1k; and 《朝觐之路》 - 影视资讯 - 五洲传播,” China International Movie-TV Center, http://www.cicc.org.cn/html/2014/yszx_0804/157.html.
 “ الصين تبث فيلما وثائقيا حول مسيرة المسلمين الصينيين المتجهين الى مكة لتأدية مناسك الحج” [“China Broadcasts a Documentary Film on the March of Chinese Muslims Heading to Mecca to Perform the Ritual Pilgrimage”], The People’s Daily Arabic, February 7, 2012, http://arabic.people.com.cn/31664/7721758.html; and “Film Follows Chinese Pilgrims’ Progress to Mecca,” China.org.cn, March 15, 2012, http://www.china.org.cn/arts/2012-03/15/content_24905393.htm.
 “حبال إلكترونية حول رقابهم، ومتابعة دقيقة لتحركاتهم بمناسك الحج.. الصين تنتهج أساليب مُحكَمة لمراقبة مسلميها, عربي بوست” [“Electronic Trackers Around Their Necks and Tracking Their Movements During the Rites of Hajj ... China Adopts Strict Methods to Monitor Its Muslims”], ArabicPost.net, August 20, 2018, rb.gy/qfohwo.
 Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), “OIC High Level Delegation Visits Beijing,” August 19, 2009, https://www.oic-oci.org/topic/?t_id=2656&ref=1141&lan=en.
 “ الصين تؤسس آلية ثابتة لتبادلات بين المسلمين الصينيين والعرب” [“China Establishes a Stable Mechanism for Exchanges Between Chinese and Arab Muslims”], The People's Daily Arabic (October 23, 2009), http://arabic.people.com.cn/31660/6792555.html.
 “ الجمعية الإسلامية الصينية تشيد بدور الأزهر في تدريب الأئمة الصينيين, بوابة الأهرام” [“The China Islamic Association Lauds the Role of Al-Azhar in Training Chinese Imams”], Al-Ahram, September 23, 2019, http://gate.ahram.org.eg/News/2285349.aspx.
 “يانغ تشينغ، رئيس الجمعية الإسلامية الصينية ورئيس مجموعة عمل الحج الصينية، التقى رئيس الحرمين الشريفين الشيخ عبد الرحمن السديس، وأشاد بالحكومة السعودية لتقديمها مجموعة متكاملة من الخدمات للحجاج المسلمين من جميع أنحاء العالم معرباً عن أمله في تعزيز التبادلات الثقافية بين البلدين Pic.twitter.com/SWJatMKb3H” [“Yang Qing, President of the Chinese Islamic Association and Chairman of the Chinese Hajj Working Group, Met with the President of the Two Holy Mosques Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, and Praised the Saudi Government for Providing an Integrated Set of Services for Muslim Pilgrims from All over the World, Expressing His Hope to Enhance Cultural Exchanges between the Two Countries”], Twitter, August 9, 2019, https://twitter.com/ChineseAffairs/status/1159878957149409282; and “中国伊协会长杨发明拜会沙特两圣寺主席” [“Yang Yifa, President of the China Islamic Association Paid a Visit to the Chairman of the Two Holy Temples in Saudi Arabia”], The Chinese Islamic Association, August 4, 2019, http://www.chinaislam.net.cn/cms/news/xhxw/201908/04-13369.html.