Northwest China: Gansu, Qinghai, 2 Autonomous Regions (Ningxia Hui and Xinjiang) Over 40 million people live in this region. Around 5% are Christian. Qinghai Province is a unique region where the Tibetan, Han, Mongol, Hui, and Turkic worlds meet. Qinghai has the highest ethnic-minority population of any full province in China. In the 1940s, only a few hundred Christians lived here. Growth has been significant mostly among the Han Chinese. Many thousands of prisoners endure great hardship in the labour and prison camps in this province. Pray for the believers who suffer in prison, that their faith in God might grow and bless those around them.
- The Christian population is relatively small, but is accelerating in growth. The area was pioneered by CIM (OMF), CMA and AoG, with very modest response. Increasing numbers are coming to Christ, especially the result of compassionate ministry by Christians to the sick and needy and of faithful witness by lay preachers. Areas of weakness include too few leaders with training and the rise of a number of marginal sects. FEBC radio broadcasts have led many to Christ in Gansu villages.
Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. The Hui are officially China's third-largest minority group (officially 13.2 million but possibly more). They are found in every province of China, and only a minority of two million live in Ningxia, their Autonomous Region. They are descendants of a mix of Persian and Arab Muslim traders, Mongolians and Chinese. They strongly retain their culture and religion and speak their own brand of Mandarin, but they also speak the local dialect of wherever they live. After 30 years of mission outreach before 1951, very few had become believers. There is renewed interest in reaching them. Points for prayer:
- Praise God for what He is doing among the Hui. While there are still fewer than 1,000 believers, there are now a handful of fellowships and congregations where a few years ago there were none. Interest and focus - from both Han Chinese and expatriate believers - are also growing to reach the Hui for Christ. Pray for a growing harvest among the Hui.
- The Hui are almost entirely Muslim (and 80% Sunni). There are some episodes of bloody enmity as the presence of a Chinese majority generates among the Hui attitudes of suspicion and mistrust of the Han. Outreach by Han Chinese therefore requires great sensitivity and humility. Some Hui are vulnerable to further Islamization and possibly even radicalization by foreign Islamist elements.
Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. There is a significant turning to Christianity in the north, along the Yellow River where many Han immigrants live. Christian ministry to the poor has yielded great response among farmers and working-class people. Pray for the formation of churches where the many new believers can be led in discipleship and study of the Bible.
- This desolate region is dotted with dozens of labour and prison camps; previous estimates placed these camps as having 10% of Qinghai's overall population. Many thousands of prisoners have endured great hardship there - including many believers. Pray for all prisoners of conscience, that their faith in God might grow and bless those around them.
- In the 1940s there were only a few hundred Christians, mainly in Xining, but in the last 20 years growth has been quite remarkable. Today there are over 280,000 Christians. Most of this growth is among the Han Chinese, and a significant amount through migration. Praise God for this rapid growth. Pray also that the Han Christians might gain passion and vision for the unevangelized peoples among whom they live.
- The Tibetan peoples remain strongly entrenched in Lamaistic Buddhism. Living conditions are harsh, and they traditionally depend on large herds of yak. China's central-government policy of "development" and forced resettlement threatens their traditional way of life. Most Tibetans are strongly bound by powers and principalities of the high places of the Tibetan plateau and religion. There are now a handful of isolated believers, but, despite great amounts of intercession and attention, no breakthrough has yet occurred.
- The Tu, Oirat and Mongour are Lamaistic Buddhists with only a handful of known believers. They are isolated from existing outreach.
- The Muslim Hui in Xining are numerous and there are a handful of Christians among them. Han Christians are beginning to reach out to them.
- The Muslim Salar have a few dozen believers, but the Bonan remain completely unreached.
- The unreached. Qinghai is a unique geographical region where the Tibetan, Han, Mongol, Hui and Turkic worlds meet. Qinghai has the highest percentage ethnic-minority population of any full province in China.
- Get all of this content and daily notifications in our free mobile app. Download here ›
- Sign up for a daily e-mail that gets you the featured prayer point of the day straight to your inbox.
- This content is a curated selection of points from our book, Operation World. Find out more about it and all the rest of Our Publications ›
Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.