Privilege and Prejudice: Han Victimhood and Legitimizing Islamophobia in China

Ying Miao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Islamophobia, along with other forms of alt-right discourse and hate speech, is a well-documented phenomenon in the Euro-American world. Despite increasing scholarly attention in the West, however, research on Islamophobia in authoritarian regimes is more limited. Using content analysis of key online Islamophobic accounts, this paper shows that there are two distinct types of Islamophobic narratives in the Chinese cyberspace: a “confessional” narrative attributed to Uyghur authors, and a warning narrative specifically for Han readership, cautioning them about the hidden dangers posed by the Hui. This paper explores how these Islamophobic pieces share a Han-centric gaze where the Han, the majority-dominant group in China today, are placed in both a saviour role in terms of the Uyghurs, and a victim role as underdogs coming under attack from the Hui. The successful assimilation of the Hui has led to suspicion and narratives of betrayal, despite state efforts to promote Hui assimilation as a successful example of ethnic harmony. Whereas the Uyghurs are welcomed and accepted as long as they are willing to admit Han superiority, the Hui are rejected based on their perceived threat to Han dominance.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalChina Quarterly
Early online date8 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of SOAS University of London. This is an Open Access article,
distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited


  • Han
  • Hui
  • Islamophobia
  • Uyghur
  • alt-right
  • narratives
  • online discourse
  • social media


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