Unity of Ethnic Groups - Marking the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (1949-1999). China is a multi-national country with 56 ethnic groups. To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the PRC, the State Postal Bureau issued a set of 56 piece commemorative stamps, "Unity of Ethnic Groups-Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China (1949-1999)". The maxi card displayed has one of these 56 stamps. The card was issued on 1.10.1999. For those interested in the Hui people, the paragraphs below may be of interest.
The Hui people are an ethnic group in China, defined as Chinese-speaking people descended from foreign Muslims. They are typically distinguished by their practice of Islam, however some also practice other religions, and many are direct descendants of Silk Road travellers.
In modern People's Republic of China, the term "Hui people" refers to one of the officially recognized 56 ethnic groups into which Chinese citizens are classified. Under this definition, the Hui people are defined to include all historically Muslim communities in People's Republic of China that are not included in China's other ethnic groups. Since China's Muslims speaking various Turkic, Mongolian, or Iranian languages are all included into those other groups (e.g.,Uyghurs, Dongxiang, or Tajiks) the "officially recognized" Hui ethnic group consists predominantly of Chinese speakers. In fact, the "Hui nationality" is unique among China's officially recognized ethnic minorities in that it does not have any particular non-Chinese language associated with it.
The Hui people are of varied ancestry, many of whom are direct descendants of Silk Road travellers. Their ancestors include Central Asian, Arabs, and Persian, who married Han Chinese. Several medieval dynasties, particularly the Tang Dynasty, Song Dynasty, and Mongol Yuan Dynasty encouraged immigration from predominantly-Muslim Persia and Central, with both dynasties welcoming traders from these regions and appointing Central Asian officials. In the subsequent centuries, they gradually mixed with Mongols and Han Chinese, and the Hui people were formed. On account of this mixing and long residence in China, the Hui have not retained Central Asian, Persian, or Arabic names, using instead names typical of their Han Chinese neighbours; however, certain names common among the Hui can be understood as Chinese renderings of common Muslim (i.e. Arabic), Persian, and Central Asian names. This pretty card was given to me by Françoise.