One of the themes of Neal Stephenson’s REAMDE is a terrorist battle between Chinese Muslims and their central government. It starts of as a minor cross-theme and eventually develops into a larger global terrorism theme. Whether Stephenson addresses the issue in a realistic manner is not for me to say. But there really is tension between the Chinese Muslims and their government. In fact the tension just got pulled tighter.
Near the village of Hexi in the Ningxia Provence of Northwestern China, an area where many of China's Muslim Hui population live, the authorities moved to demolish a mosque that they said was built illegally.
Edward Wong, New York Times, 4 January (via China US Focus)
BEIJING - Residents of a village in northwestern China where hundreds of Muslims tried to defend a mosque against demolition by the authorities have said that many civilians were injured when police attacked and that at least two might have been killed, according to news agency reports on Tuesday...
Witnesses said police armed with batons and water cannons then tried to beat back the protesters. The Muslims were ethnic Hui, the largest ethnic minority in China that practices Islam.
The Chinese Muslim population is sited at varying numbers with 48 million, being a common one. Even the lower numbers (20 million) make up an enormous number of people. A lot of the difference will likely depend on whether you are counting "cultural" or "practising" Muslims. The repression of the Chinese government is likely to keep the number of practising Muslims low. However, as we noted earlier with the early Christians in Rome, repression also tends to get rid of the slackers and free-loaders. So what Muslims there are, are likely to be seriously committed- at least in the political sense. There are a variety of under reported activities (also) by Muslim separatist groups.
|Chinese Muslims at Worship|