His parents knew exactly what they wanted from their son: they called him Famiao, or "produce descendants". Yet when their first grandchild arrived, they refused to step across the courtyard of the family home to see the new baby. Qiaoyue was a girl.

When finally obliged to meet her, "they didn't even wash her face or comb her hair. I was furious," says their daughter-in-law, Chen Xingxiao.

"My father-in-law's friends would ask him, 'How come you haven't brought your grandchild out for a walk?' He would say, 'If it was a boy I would have done. She's a girl, so I won't.'"

It is 5:50 in the morning, and dark shadows scurry through narrow alleys to the mosque, as the call to prayer echoes from a minaret in Kaifeng. This city in central China's Henan province has an Islamic enclave, where Muslims have lived for more than 1,000 years. In an alleyway called Wangjia hutong, women go to their own mosque, where Yao Baoxia leads prayers. For 14 years, Yao has been a female imam, or ahong as they are called here, a word derived from Persian.

An ethnic Uyghur woman in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region who was scheduled to undergo a second-term abortion against her will—and whose case drew international attention—has been released to her family and allowed to continue her pregnancy.
"Women who have married men of other provinces enjoy equal rights as a villager in their hometown as long as they continue abiding by the obligations of the village's collective economy."
“At a tiny courtyard mosque in China's most populous Muslim region, Jin Meihua leads other women in prayer and chants."
"Imitating the costume, architecture, and eating practices of Arab Muslims has become an important way for local Hui to show their authenticity as Muslims."
Female imams guide others in worship and are the primary spiritual leaders for the women in their communities.
Le Henan est la province la plus pauvre et la plus peuplée de Chine : 100 millions d'habitants, surtout des paysans, dont beaucoup restent les oubliés de l'explosion économique de la côte Pacifique.
Ningxia province is the heartland of Islam in China - and the base of Hong Yang, a Muslim leader who commands a million Chinese followers. Religious freedom is laid down in the Chinese constitution, but Hong Yang admits there are limits.
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