Razib Khan of Gene Expression wrote an article on the Hui Muslims a few years ago. He has an interesting take on the Hui Muslims, their history and how they relate to the rest of the Muslim world and their non-Mulim country-men. An excerpt is given below. The whole article can be accessed on this webpage.
To me, the Hui are interesting because they are a Muslim population of ancient lineage that has perpetuated itself in a profoundly non-Muslim milieu for at least 700 years.1 The Hui interaction with the non-Muslim majority, their status as a nation (they are termed the “Hui nation”) within a nation, is I think relevant to contemporary issues outside of China. So it was with that in mind that I decided to read Dao of Muhammad, a cultural history of the eastern Hui literati during the 16th-18th centuries. Most of the book focuses on Islamic commentaries produced by eminently Chinese, but Muslim, scholars, collectively termed the Han Kitab. The Han Kitab serves as a textual looking glass into the minds of men who lived and believed as Chinese Muslims, predominantly during the period of the early to middle Qing (Manchu), a dynasty which was itself of foreign origin.