Since the beginning of the reform and opening up in China nearly four decades ago, China’s Muslim minorities have restored connections with the global Muslim ummah (community) through religious pilgrimages, business activities, and educational and cultural exchanges. Whether attracted by better economic prospects or for religious purposes, an increasing number of Chinese Muslims have found ways out of China, taking sojourns or eventually settling down in diverse locations across the globe. Drawing on the author’s field research in China, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates, combined with a review of key studies on Chinese Muslims in Southeast Asia, this paper traces the shape of Chinese Muslim transnational networks and examines the construction of “Chinese Muslim” identity in the diaspora. By locating the study of contemporary Chinese Muslims within the broader scholarship on transnational religion, this paper deepens our understanding of the impact of globalization on ethnoreligious minorities.
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