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Xiangyue -- Official Administration System on Muslims

Xiangyue was an official administration system on Muslims in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The government sets up Xiang (township) as the grass root administrative unit and Xiangyue is the leader of Xiang. In routine life, the local Muslims in the same township supervise and restrict each other with the ties of neighborhood and kinship. In this way, they win trust from the government and their religious affairs are no longer intervened by the government.

The system appeared in the 18th century. It was first practiced in Hezhou Prefecture of Gansu Province and later was spread to many regions in Northwest China. There are two forms of Xiangyue. One is Siyue and the other is Huiyue.

Siyue is a leader selected by the government in a place where there is a mosque. He is responsible for administrating the believers there. Siyue was usually an Akhund. Huiyue is a respectable leader recommended by the local people in a place where there is no mosque. He is responsible to supervise the believers there. Each term usually lasts 3 years. After a term, there will be a shift.

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