by Candice Del Medico (PhD student at the Université Paris I-Panthéon Sorbonne, recipient of a fieldwork grant from the EFEO)
The presence of Muslims in China is a phenomenon which seems unknown to the general public. However, today there are more than twenty million Muslims in Chinese territory. The early implantation of Islam was accompanied by the construction of a new type of architecture that had never been seen in China before: the mosques, or qingzhensi (清真寺) in Chinese.
There are currently more than forty thousand mosques in China and some were erected as early as the 14th century. These oldest mosques are the traditional Hui-style mosques.