Spotted on the streets of Wuzhong, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, PRC: Muammar Gaddafi socks based on the “Last Stand” cover of Gaddafi from Time magazine, with his name written in Chinese and some extra praise for “the legend.” What, might you ask, do articles of clothing with deposed African leaders on them have to do with China? It’d be interesting to ask the sock manufacturers directly why they chose to create this specific product, but overall, we weren’t surprised to see an important Arab leader on the radar screen of an inland Chinese province. In fact, Ningxia’s ties to the Middle East are one of the main reasons why we’re currently visiting and researching here.
About 15 HNCers are currently in Ningxia over our spring break to research the Hui zu (回族) or the Hui Muslim ethnic minority, which is an extremely diverse ethnic minority among China’s 55 minorities (plus the Han for a total of 56 official ethnicities). On Monday, for example, we visited two mosques, a Muslim cultural center, a vocation school where students specialize in learning English and Middle Eastern languages, and a monument/religious site during prayer time. After dinner, we decided to walk around the city we’re currently in, Wuzhong, when we spotted the socks in a store. More pictures and adventures when I get back to Nanjing! Thanks to Liang Xiao, HNC Certificate ‘12, for the photo.