Source: The Guardian
On September 4, 2005 The Guardian reported, “The Hui form a community of about 10 million people spread over several provinces [of China]… The Hui would be just another Sunni [Muslim] community, albeit somewhat exotic compared with those in the Middle Eastern Islamic world, were it not for the fact that they have instituted a tradition that is almost unknown among Muslims: the setting up women’s mosques, or nüsi, and the creation of female imams.
It is a fairly recent tradition: the first nüsi would seem to go back only to the 19th century and the reign of the Qing dynasty. Until the communist revolution in 1949 there were 32 nüsi throughout China. According to 1997 statistics, after being reinstated in the wake of the dark years of the Cultural Revolution and the de-Maoisation process that allowed the return of religious practices, they now number 29.”