In the late 1930s, three groups of Sino-Muslims went on hajj trips to Mecca. Two of them represented the Republic of China, while one represented the puppet government in Japanese-occupied North China. Reflecting the political importance of the Muslim population in the Sino-Japanese struggle, each group engaged in propaganda efforts for its government. However the Sino-Muslims who participated in these missions were not merely the passive pawns of Chinese authorities. Rather, archival material and published sources in Chinese and Arabic show that Sino-Muslims actively used these missions to advance a vision of the Chinese nation in which Muslims would play an important role in domestic and foreign affairs. This vision was based on a particular understanding of global politics which allowed Sino-Muslim elites to reconcile the transnational characteristic of Islam with loyalty to the territorially bound “Chinese nation.”
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