The Hui people are a predominantly Muslim ethnic group in China. Hui people are found throughout the country, though they are concentrated mainly in the Northwestern provinces and the Central Plain. According to a 2011 census, China is home to approximately 10.5 million Hui people, the majority of whom are Chinese-speaking practitioners of Islam, though some practice other religions. Although many Hui people are ethnically similar to Han Chinese, the group has retained some Arabic, Persian and Central Asian features, their ethnicity and culture having been shaped profoundly by their position along the Silk Road trading route.
In the People's Republic of China, the Hui people are one of 56 officially recognized ethnic groups. Under this definition, the Hui people are defined to include all historically Muslim communities not included in China's other ethnic groups. Since speakers of various Turkic and Mongolic languages are classified under these other groups (e.g., Uyghurs, Dongxiang), the officially recognized Hui ethnic group consists predominantly of Chinese language speakers. In fact, the Hui nationality is unique among China's officially recognized ethnic minorities in that it does not have any particular non-Sinitic language associated with it.
Most Hui are similar in culture to Han Chinese with the exception that they practice Islam, and have some distinctive cultural characteristics as a result. For example, as Muslims, they follow Islamic dietary laws and reject the consumption of pork, the most common meat consumed in Chinese culture, and have also given rise to their variation of Chinese cuisine, Chinese Islamic cuisine: as well as Muslim Chinese martial arts. Their mode of dress also differs primarily in that men wear white caps and women wear headscarves or (occasionally) veils, as is the case in most Islamic cultures.