Brief Introduction of Dongxiang Ethnic Group

The nationality with a sense of propriety and industriously engaged in agriculture

Dongxiang nationality is one of the minor nationalities in China. The present population is more than 370,000. They mainly distribute in the autonomous county of Dongxiang nationality, Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu province. Some others scattered live in Jishishan autonomous county of Bao’an, Dongxiang and Sala nationalities, Linxia county, Hezheng county, Guanghe county and Kangle county in Gansu province and Yili region in Xinjiang, and so on.

Dongxiang nationality calls themselves as “Sa’erta”, which generally means the Muslim in the middle part of Asia. “Dongxiang” is called by other nationalities, because this nationality had been living to the east of Linxia prefecture (called as He prefecture in the ancient time), so they got the name for the region of “Dongxiang”. As a national community, Dongxiang nationality gradually formed by the long-term merging of Semu people that believed in Islam, and stationed troops and herded in Dongxiang region after the Mongolian west expedition in the 13th century with the local Hui, Han, Mongolian and other nationalities in the Yuan and Ming nationalities. Before the founding of the new China, they were called as “Dongxiang Hui” or “Mongolian Hui”, etc. In 1951, they were recognized as a single minority nationality, and got this name since then.

Dongxiang nationality has their own language, but no written words. Dongxiang language belongs to the Mongolian group of Aertai language system, and it applies many words of Mongolian and Chinese. Now more and more people of Dongxiang nationality also have a good command of Chinese and use Chinese.

Dongxiang nationality is mainly engaged in agriculture, and concurrently livestock husbandry. They believe in Islam and have many denominations.