The Dongxiang are one of China’s official minority groups. They were called “Dongxiang Hui”, “Dongxiang Mongolian” prior to 1949, when their name was changed to the Dongxiang (East District) people. Most of the Dongxiang live in the Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture and surrounding areas of Gansu Province in northwestern China. According to the 2010 census, their population numbers 621,500. Dongxiang people communicate with Dongxiang language which belongs to the Mongolian Language of the Altaic family. Many of their vocabularies are borrowed from Chinese, and some are from Turkic, Arabian and Farsi, without their own writing form. Historians are divided in their views about the ethno-origin of the Dongxiang ethnic minority. Some hold that the Dongxiangs were descendants of Mongolian troops posted in the Hezhou area by Genghis Khan (1162–1227) during his western conquest. Other historians believe that they were a mixed population consisting of Muslims, Mongolians and Han Chinese. Moreover, the Dongxiang group claimed to be Sarta (a similar word Sartrefers tothe Arab traders and Turkic-speaking city dwellers in Central Asia), suggesting another possibility of western Asian origin (http://www.chinatravel.com/facts/dongxiang-ethnic-minority.htm). Thus, regarding the issue of the ethno-origin of the Dongxiang group, previous studies with limited genetic markers and small sample size have been unable to provide a clear answer [
- Xie D.C.
- Wang X.L.
- An L.Z.
Proofs of the origin of Dongxiang ethnic group based on the population genetics.
Ethno-Natl. Stud. 2002; 1 (in Chinese): 35-40
- Dai Y.J.
- Yang D.Y.
Research on the physical characteristics of Dongxiang Nationality in Gansu province, northwest China.
Acta Anthropol. Sin. 1991; 10: 127-134
3]. Yao et al. recently analysed 15 autosomal STRs in 372 individuals from Dongxiang and Hui in Linxia, Gansu province and determined their population affinity with 45 populations (13,793 individuals) all around the world. Both genetic distance and Bayesian-clustering methods showed significant genetic homogeneity between the two Muslim populations and East Asian populations, suggesting a common genetic ancestry [
- Wang W.
- Wise C.
- Baric T.
- Black M.L.
- Bittles A.H.
The origins and genetic structure of three co-resident Chinese Muslim populations: the Salar, Bo’an and Dongxiang.
Hum. Genet. 2003; 113: 244-252
- Yao H.B.
- Wang C.C.
- Tao X.
- Shang L.
- Wen S.Q.
- Zhu B.F.
- Kang L.L.
- Jin L.
- Li H.
Genetic evidence for an East Asian origin of Chinese Mmuslim populations Dongxiang and Hui.
Sci. Rep. 2016; 6: 38656
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- Proofs of the origin of Dongxiang ethnic group based on the population genetics.Ethno-Natl. Stud. 2002; 1 (in Chinese): 35-40
- Research on the physical characteristics of Dongxiang Nationality in Gansu province, northwest China.Acta Anthropol. Sin. 1991; 10: 127-134
- The origins and genetic structure of three co-resident Chinese Muslim populations: the Salar, Bo’an and Dongxiang.Hum. Genet. 2003; 113: 244-252
- Genetic evidence for an East Asian origin of Chinese Mmuslim populations Dongxiang and Hui.Sci. Rep. 2016; 6: 38656
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Published online: January 01, 2018
Accepted: December 30, 2017
Received in revised form: December 26, 2017
Received: August 30, 2017
© 2017 Published by Elsevier B.V.