Exiled by Definition:The Salar of Northwest China

David SG Goodman


Abstract

The reform of state socialism came relatively late to Qinghai Province in the Northwest of the People’s Republic of China. One of Qinghai’s most dynamic groups in the social leadership of reform has been the Salar. The Salar were one of the officially recognized nationalities identified in the People’s Republic of China during the 1950s. A relatively small group of some 100,000 currently live along the upper reaches of the Yellow River, on the borders of Qinghai and Gansu Provinces. The Salar are characterised by their commitment to both Islam and China, and by their belief that they live in permanent exile, though there is considerable uncertainty about their origins. The evidence of recent research in Qinghai suggests the perspective of being Chinese citizens, yet a people in exile, significantly shapes recent Salar social and economic activism.

Keywords

The Salar; exile; Qinghai province China;

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