As we continue to focus on becoming a world Christian, I would like to encourage you to remember the Hui people of China. While it would not appear that Islam would be prominent among the Chinese people, almost all the Hui people are Muslim. As a matter of fact, Islam in China is almost synonymous with the Hui people. According to the most recent statistics, there are less than 200 Christians among the Hui people, totaling between 8 and 12 million people (estimates vary according to researchers). If you do the math, that comes out to be one Christian for about every 65,000 Hui. Let’s pray that God would do a work among these people and many laborers would be raised up among these people who have yet to hear and trust in Jesus. Here’s the info:

Region: Northeast Asia
Country: China
People Name: Hui (Muslim Chinese)
Population: 12,356,000
World Population: 12,432,000
Language: Chinese, Mandarin
Primary Religion: Islam
Progress Status: 1.1 (lowest progress status)
% Adherents: 0.00%
% Evangelical: 0.00% (10/40 Window: Yes
Bible Portions: Yes
New Testament: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes

Numbering over 10 million, the Hui are the largest and most widespread of China’s Muslim nationalities. They can be found living in almost every city, province, and region of northwestern China. While they do not make up a majority in any of the provinces, they have been culturally and politically dominant throughout China. Their influence has caused much of the Northwest to be regarded as Muslim territory.

The Hui trace their ancestors back to Muslim traders, soldiers, and officials who came to China during the seventh through fourteenth centuries, settling and marrying local Han women. They differ from other Chinese Muslim groups in that they do not have their own language. Instead, they speak the Chinese dialect of their locality, mixed with a few Arabic and Persian words. The Hui have so well assimilated into the Chinese society that they are almost indistinguishable from the Han Chinese, except in dietary and religious practices.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Hui are famous traders. In fact, it was their interest in profitable business ventures that caused them to become scattered throughout China. However, to retain religious purity and group identity, the Hui have always remained socially segregated.

The rural Hui of northern China grow wheat and dry rice, while those farther south raise wet rice. Some may also engage in small-scale industries, raise sheep and cattle, and grow some vegetables for profit.

Urban Hui are most often laborers or factory workers who are employed, housed, and educated by the state. Others are shopkeepers and butchers. The butchers still provide halal meat. This refers to meat slaughtered according to Islamic standards.

The Hui diet consists of rice, flour, beef, mutton, and chicken. There is a religious taboo on pork as well as on the meat of horses, donkeys, mules, and all wild animals.

Since the 1949 Socialist reforms, Hui traditions such as early marriages, arranged marriages, and polygamy (having more than one wife at a time) have been outlawed. Women now have the same divorce and inheritance rights as men. The government rewards “late” marriages (those in the late to middle twenties), and adherence to the family planning norm of only one child per couple. According to Muslim custom, Hui women are forbidden to marry non-Hui, but Hui men may marry Han or other non-Hui women who are willing to follow Islamic practices.

What are their beliefs?

Ninety percent of the Hui are Muslims. It is no wonder that Islam in China is often called “the Hui religion.”

Among the Hui, there are many different Islamic sects. The older factions arose out of the need to adapt Islam to Chinese culture. The newer sects developed out of the desire to ‘purify’ Chinese Islam. Ironically, however, there is a wide range of devotion to Islam among the Hui. In northwestern China they are quite conservative; while in northeastern China, they are more liberal. There, they smoke, drink, and eat pork when away from home. Overall, the Hui are said to be among the least radical Muslims in the world. Visiting Muslims are often disgusted with their lack of depth.

The Chinese government continues to allow the Hui to bury their dead in Muslim cemeteries while all Han must now be cremated. Presently, the Hui are exempted from some aspects of China’s controlled birth program.

What are their needs?

The Chinese government clearly favors Islam. Mosques are exempted from property and housing taxes, and several famous old mosques have been renovated with government funds. The government also pays for the training of new ahongs, or religious leaders.

Chinese Muslims are reluctant to become Christians since persecution often follows such a decision. Christian broadcasts and literature are available to the Hui, but there are presently no known Christians among them.

Prayer Points

* Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to China and share Christ with the Hui, no matter what the cost.
* Pray that the doors of China will soon open to missionaries.
* Ask God to raise up loving Chinese believers who will take Christ to their Muslim neighbors.
* Pray that God will call qualified linguists to complete translation of the Bible into Kuoyu, the Hui language.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of these Muslims toward Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Pray that God will open the hearts of China’s governmental leaders to the Gospel.
* Ask the Lord to raise up a strong local church among the Hui.

For more information, go to:

The Joshua Project complete profile
SIM Profile of the Hui People
IMB Profile of the Hui People
TC Online Article About Hui People
Asia Harvest PDF Document of Hui People

People’s Daily Online Profile of Hui People
Travel China Guide About Hui People
Wikipedia Entry of Hui People
The Unreached Peoples Prayer Profile of the Hui
Ethnologue Language Map of China

World Interactive Map of China
CIA World Factbook on China
Library of Congress Info on China
Infoplease Entry for China
Operation World