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These include several thousand Utsuls in southern Hainan Province, who speak an Austronesian language (Tsat) related to that of the Vietnamese Cham Muslim minority, said The East Asian O3-M122 Y chromosome Haplogroup is found in large quantities in other Muslims close to the Hui like Dongxiang, Bo'an and Salar.
The majority of Tibeto-Burmans, Han Chinese, and Ningxia and Liaoning Hui share paternal Y chromosomes of East Asian origin which are unrelated to Middle Easterners and Europeans.
The Hui people are one of 56 ethnic groups recognized by China.
The government defines the Hui people to include all historically Muslim communities not included in China's other ethnic groups; they are therefore distinct from other Muslim groups such as the Uyghurs.
In contrast to distant Middle Easterners and Europeans with whom the Muslims of China are not significantly related, East Asians, Han Chinese, and most of the Hui and Dongxiang of Linxia share more genes with each other.
This indicates that native East Asian populations converted to Islam and were culturally assimilated and that the Chinese Muslim populations are mostly not descendants of foreigners as claimed by some accounts while only a small minority of them are.
Matteo Ricci, the first Jesuit to reach Beijing (1598), noted that "Saracens are everywhere in evidence . It is quite evident that they are Saracens", and had to be told by a eunuch that they actually weren't, "because they ate pork".
The traditional expression Huihui, its use now largely restricted to rural areas, would sound quaint, if not outright demeaning, to modern urban Chinese Muslims.Hui people are of varied ancestry, many directly descending from Silk Road travellers and expatriates.