The Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong

“Islamic Frontiers of China and the Silk Road”
Wong How Man

Monday, 04 April 2011
HK Football Club, 3 Sports Road, Happy Valley
Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm

Wong How Man, China's greatest explorer and one of our most popular lecturers, to speaks on  "Islamic Frontiers of China and the Silk Road", a fascinating talk on the effects of some 1,500 years of Islam on China.

Based on almost forty years of travels and research in China, Mr Wong first explains the early influence of trader merchants from Central Asia and the Middle East on China and vice versa and the subsequent entry of Islam during the 7th Century.  The lecture also explores the Islamic maritime trade which affected the eastern seaboard from Guangzhou to Hainan, which has some of the earliest mosques of China.

Islam is believed to have arrived in China in the year 651.  "Seek knowledge, even if you have to go to China," the Prophet Mohammed purportedly told his followers.  During the epoch of the Tang Dynasty, over 12,000 foreign students were studying in Xian, then the capital.  Most of these were from the Middle East, predominantly Muslim.

In the present period, ten of the recognised ethnic groups of China are Muslim. Mr Wong will also discuss some of the larger groups like the Hui and Uighur, the mid-sized groups like the Kazak and Kirgiz, and the smaller groups like the Sala and Tajik.  He also describes some of the little-known heritage and culture of these minorities. 

Mr Wong also explains his recent use of Space Shuttle Imaging in relocating lost cities, often Muslim, along the ancient Silk Road.  This lecture is illustrated with stunning photography and also a short film.

Wong How Man is Chairman of the China Research & Exploration Society.  Being "China's most accomplished explorer", Time Magazine honoured Wong How Man as one of their 25 Asian Heroes.  In a career spanning almost forty years of exploration in remote China together with neighbouring countries, Wong How Man is a veteran at the National Geographic, having led six major expeditions for the magazine. In 1986, he founded the China Exploration & Research Society, which expanded his exploration work to conservation of China's natural and cultural heritage.  He is the  author of many books and his work has been featured on CNN, National Geographic Channel and many other media.  This lecture accompanies the recent publication of Mr Wong's book, Islamic Frontiers of China.

Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this lecture, which is HK$100 for Members and HK$150 for guests and others.

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