China
Peoples' Republic of China
March 24-April 5
Asia


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GEOGRAPHY

(See China, Hong Kong; China, Macau; China, Taiwan.)

Area 9,573,000 sq.km. The third largest state in the world, also containing the highest mountains and plateaus in the world. The climate varies from tropical in Hainan in the south to sub-arctic in Heilongjiang in the north. Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are all integral parts of China, though their statistics are not included here.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 1,262,556,787 +0.93% 132 per sq. km.
2010 1,356,939,193 +0.69% 142 per sq. km.
2025 1,462,931,461 +0.35% 153 per sq. km.

Capital Beijing (Peking) 12,033,000. Other major cities: Shanghai 14.2 mill.; Tianjin 10,239,000; Guangzhou 6,389,000; Shenyang 5,681,000; Changchun 5,566,000; Harbin 5,475,000; Chengdu 5,293,000; Jinan 4,789,000; Wuhan 4,750,000; Qingdao 4,376,000. There are 80 other cities of over 1,000,000 inhabitants. Urbanites 32% (unofficially considerably higher).

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 91.3%. One national language: Putonghua (Mandarin) 783 mill. 15 regional mega-languages, largest (in millions): Wu 82m; Yueh (Cantonese) 59m; Jin 53m; Gan 37m; Xiang (Hunanese) 36m; Min Nan 32m; Hakka 31m; Min Dong 8.8m; Hainanese 5.1m; Huizhou 3.6m; Min Bei 2.6m. There are estimated to be 600 Han dialects, but one written language common to all.

Ethnic minorities 8.7%. There are 456 distinct ethnic groups, but 55 'nationalities' officially recognized for administrative convenience. Main groups (see China's provinces for more details):

Tai 2.2%. Over 55 peoples in the southern provinces.

Tibeto-Burman 2.1%. 249 peoples in western and southwestern provinces.

Mongolian-Altaic 1.6%. 29 peoples mainly in the northern border states of Manchuria (Jilin, Liaoning, Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia).

Hmong-Mien 0.86%. 70 peoples in the southern border provinces.

Hui 0.84%. Chinese Muslims in all provinces, especially Ningxia and Gansu.

Turkic 0.86%. 17 peoples in northwest.

Mon-Khmer 0.05%. 23 peoples in southern provinces of Guizhou, Guangxi and Yunnan.

Other 0.29%. Korean 2.2m; Tajik(2) 43,000; Vietnamese 27,000; Russian 17,400; Austronesian(4) 17,200; Foreigners 100,000.

Literacy 81.5%. Official language Putonghua (Mandarin Chinese); local languages in the five Autonomous Regions. All languages 470. Languages with Scriptures 13Bi 13NT 16por 24w.i.p.

ECONOMY

The Cultural Revolution with its application of an extreme Marxist economic system was a fiasco. Since 1978, the see-saw conflict between the hardliners and pragmatists within the Communist government has been reflected in the degree of economic liberalization pursued. First agriculture and then much industry was privatized with dramatic improvements in food production, consumer goods and living standards. Massive growth in the 1980s and somewhat slower growth in the '90s have partially restored China's industrial might after two centuries of eclipse to become the 8th largest economy in the world. The greatest growth has been in Hong Kong's hinterland and more recently in most coastal cities. Fear of political liberalization, widespread corruption and unwillingness to deal with large state- and army-run industries is holding back growth. The massive increase in unemployment and widespread poverty could create serious social unrest. Unemployment is officially 4.8%, but it is estimated that the urban labour surplus is 18% and rural 30%. This means about 200 million without a meaningful income. HDI 0.701; 98th/174. Public debt 11% of GNP. Income/person $860 (2.7% of USA).

POLITICS

This great and ancient nation has regained its place of importance in the world after nearly two centuries of decline and humiliation at the hands of the Western powers and Japan. After the final conquest of mainland China in 1949, the Communist Party remoulded the nation along Marxist lines. The Cultural Revolution (1966-76) was the culmination of Mao's policy. It caused immeasurable suffering and economic chaos. Intellectuals and religious believers were cruelly persecuted. It is estimated that 20 million Chinese lost their lives during that time. The death of Mao Zedong in 1976 and discrediting of radical leftists in 1978 was followed by a more pragmatic leadership under Deng. He initiated a series of economic, political and cultural reforms and developed links with other nations, but all within the limits set by Deng. The crushing of the 1989 student protest in Tienanmen Square in Beijing and also the collapse of Communism in Europe and the USSR left China diplomatically isolated as the oldest surviving Communist regime. The threatened government responded with a reversion to ideological rigidity and repression of all political, ethnic and religious dissent. Economic reform with tight political control has been government policy during the 1990s. In 1997 and 1999 Hong Kong and Macau reverted to Chinese rule. China's growing economic strength could be directed at the absorption of Taiwan, seizure of island archipelagos in the South China Sea and possibly other surrounding countries. Russia's under-populated Siberia could also come under pressure from over-populated China.

RELIGION

Elimination of all religious groups has always been the ultimate aim of the Marxist government. In the 1950s the government engineered the infiltration, subversion and control of all organized Christianity. By 1958 this had been achieved through the Three Self Patriotic Movement among Protestants, and the Catholic Patriotic Association among Catholics. During the Cultural Revolution even these puppet structures were banned, and all religious activity forced underground, giving birth to the house church movement. In 1978 restrictions were eased and the TSPM and CPA resurrected as a means of regaining governmental control of the thousands of house churches. This has been only partially successful. The collapse of Communism in Europe is perceived as due to 'religion', so strict controls are maintained over Christian and Muslim organizations and all unregistered activity repressed wherever possible. All figures are estimates.

The Communist Party claims that there are 100 million 'believers' in the five recognized religions (Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism) with 85,000 registered meeting places and 300,000 religious personnel. The actual figures are probably double this.

The beliefs of the Chinese and many minorities are a blend of folk religions, Daoism and Buddhism. The Buddhists are of three major strands: Mahayana and Theravada among the Chinese and southern peoples such as the Dai, Zhuang, Manchu, etc., and Lama Buddhism among the Tibetan and Mongolian peoples of the west and north.

Islam is dominant in Xinjiang and Ningxia, and is the major religion of the Hui, Uygur, Kyrgyz, Kazak, Dongxiang, etc.

The severe suppression of the Falun Gong sect in 1999 and onwards has also greatly intensified persecution of the Christian networks outside the TSPM. Persecution Index 3rd in the world.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
non-Religious/other 49.58 625,975,655 +1.0%
Chinese 28.50 359,828,684 -1.4%
Buddhist 8.38 105,802,259 +1.9%
Christian 7.25 91,535,367 +7.7%
Ethnic religions 4.29 54,163,686 +6.4%
Muslim 2.00 25,251,136 +0.9%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 5 0.05 645 +6.2%
Independent 23 7.26 91,700 +9.3%
Catholic 1 0.57 7,200 +3.7%
Marginal 21 0.16 2,000 +3.3%
Doubly affiliated   -0.79 -10,000 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Three-Self Patriotic Movt I 9,000 17,000,000 23,000,000
Born Again Movement I 50,000 16,000,000 23,000,000
House Ch Networks [18] I 150,000 18,000,000 20,000,000
Assembly Hall-Little Flock I 47,619 14,286,000 20,000,000
Catholic C 20,000 5,000,000 7,200,000
Catholic Patriotic Assoc I 4,100 3,100,000 4,500,000
True Jesus I 4,000 800,000 1,200,000
Seventh-day Adventist P 650 250,000 350,000
Other Protestant [4] P 700 200,000 295,000
Other denominations [22]   4,122 1,272,000 2,030,000
Doubly affiliated     -6,666,667 -10,000,000
Total Christians [51]   290,000 69,241,000 91,575,000

Accurate Christian statistics are not available. Those listed here are only indicative of a remarkable work of the Holy Spirit. Various official and house church network leaders have given estimates which are used here. A number of China-watchers have sought to painstakingly piece together the bigger picture from every scrap of evidence available. Estimates of all Christians vary from 30 million to 150 million. Note that some TSPM figures are inclusive of non-TSPM Christians in their areas – hence the doubly affiliated estimate.

Trans-bloc Groupings pop.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 6.0 76,127 +8.8%
Pentecostal & Charismatic 4.1 51,781 +8.8%


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Answers to Prayer

1 The survival and reviving of the Church in China was one of the decisive events of the 20th Century.

2 The growth of the Church in China since 1977 has no parallels in history. The 1,266,000 Protestant members and 1.8 mill. affiliates in 1949 had become 17m members and maybe 26m affiliates in 2000 as well as a much larger uncounted, but estimated, 45m house church Christians. The Catholics grew from 3m to 12m over the same period.

3 The millions of intercessors who travailed in prayer for the long-delayed breakthrough. The cumulative impact of 150 years of global prayer for China has been enormous. Prayer is changing China.

4 The atheist rulers of China became unwitting instruments in the hand of our Sovereign God to prepare the way for this growth. Mao Zedong sought to destroy all religious 'superstition' but in the process cleared spiritual roadblocks for the advancement of Christianity. Deng reversed the horrors inflicted by Mao and in freeing up the economy, gave more freedom to the Christians, who made use of the opportunity.

5 The manifest failure of Communism. Colossal blunders and changes in Party policy over 45 years have disillusioned the people. The fall of personality-cult leaders and the failure of promises for a better future have created a vacuum which only the gospel can fill. The nepotism, corruption and factionalism of the present Communist Party are repugnant to the majority. The Church of the Lord Jesus is larger than the Communist Party of China.

6 The faith and commitment of Christians under what may prove to be the most harsh and widespread persecution of the Church in all history. The persecution purified and indigenized the Church and has inured it to successive waves of further repression and government efforts to weaken or destroy it.

7 The aftermath of the Beijing massacre in Tiananmen Square in 1989. This was a defining moment in Chinese history. The discredited leadership is still haunted by the debacle, and the result was a significant turning to God for the first time among urban intellectuals. Christians are now found in every stratum of Chinese society.

8 The loving witness of ordinary Christians ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit. His power has often been manifested in miracles, healings and exorcisms. The majority of these evangelists and church planters have been women – many still in their teens. In many areas 70 – 80% of the Christians are women.

9 The fruitfulness of Christian radio and the remarkable faith of those who broadcast into China for years with little visible evidence of a response – that evidence is now plain to see.

10 The Internet is creating extraordinary new openings for evil and for good – the latter in providing discipleship and leadership development materials.

Challenges for Prayer

GENERAL

1 There may only be a ten-year window of opportunity for receptivity. Materialism with increasing wealth, the debilitating effects of spreading corruption, the moral decline and the social impact of the one-child policy all are conspiring to blunt the cutting edge of the Church. Pray that present openness in the midst of opposition may be used to the full.

2 Communist Party members are the elite and number some 60m. All are officially atheist, but among them are many who are secretly religious and even Christian. Pray for the collapse of the whole atheistic system and its lies so assiduously propagated in the education system, and pray for the conversion of those within the Party.

3 Market socialism is a convenient term to gloss over the ideological bankruptcy of the Marxism still espoused by the ruling elite. The government vainly tries to control information while promoting the Internet, and to indoctrinate a bored and disillusioned new generation that hankers after freedom. The irreconcilable conflict between crass capitalism and personal greed and the refusal to allow any political reform will lead to change. Pray that this change might be both peaceful and spiritually beneficial to the Chinese.

4 The 'One Child' policy is a draconian means of taming the growth of the population. Family life has been deeply impacted, shown in: a higher divorce rate, 10m abortions a year (nearly all girls), suicide (40% of the world's suicides are in China), pampered children with poor interpersonal skills and the abandonment of baby girls and older people. The rising generation will pay a heavy cost – in 2000 there were 90m marriageable unmarried men; in some areas young men outnumber young women by 30-40% – rape, abductions, female slavery, incest, prostitution and the rapid spread of AIDS could all be the result. Pray for family stability and health. Pray also for wise policies to be implemented that will stabilize the population.

5 Economic liberalization has made a few very wealthy and improved living standards for many, but made others worse off:

a) The millions of unemployed have become an impoverished under-class. Multitudes flock to cities seeking employment.

b) The poorer inland provinces far from the sea where there has been less development; housing, education, health etc., are at a much lower standard.

c) The elderly – with the one-child policy limiting family care for them.

d) Those in the penal system with 15 – 20 million incarcerated.

e) Those with disabilities.

Pray for a fairer and more free society to emerge.

6 The social and health needs in China overwhelm the available resources. Diseases are a challenge – 1.9m with tuberculosis, over 300,000 with HIV/AIDS, 10m mentally retarded through iodine-deficiency, 60m disabled, 13m blind and 520,000 registered drug addicts. Then there are the unemployed and the numerous victims of famines, floods and earthquakes due to the density of the population. Pray that Christians may find many openings to serve such in the social and caring professions and opportunities to show and speak about the love of Jesus for them.

7 China faces environmental disasters on many fronts – deforestation causing massive flooding, the unknown impact of the massive Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River, polluted rivers filled with industrial and human waste, nine of the ten most polluted cities in the world, desertification in the north and east, and the continued increase of the population. Pray for a government courageous and trusted enough to take the difficult decisions required for the long-term well-being of the nation.

THE CHURCH IN CHINA

1 The Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) was instituted by 'patriotic' and often theologically liberal Christians with the strong encouragement of the Communist Party as the interface between the government and Church. After 13 years of oblivion it was reconstituted in 1979 to wrest the initiative from the burgeoning house church movement, and enable the government to control and manipulate the Church. The China Christian Council is the governing body for all official church-related activities. Pray for:

a) The neutralization of all measures to impose unbiblical doctrines on the churches, limit evangelism, and force conformity to the dictates of the atheist government. Pray also for an end to the enforced compromises in the state-controlled TSPM-related churches.

b) Leaders who have compromised the faith and bowed to government pressure. The restrictions laid down are: no childrens' or youth work, avoid preaching on the Lord's return and on creation, a ban on healing or exorcism, and limited evangelism. Praise God for many who quietly ignore the rules of men.

c) The continued growth of the registered churches. Many godly leaders quietly continue to serve the Lord in TSPM churches. The growth in congregations and members is downplayed by the authorities but is dramatic. There were 1,000 open church buildings in 1983; 7,000 churches and 20,000 official meeting points in 1988, becoming 13,000 and 35,000, respectively, by 1997. Six churches a day are being registered. There are estimated to be 500,000 baptisms in the TSPM churches every year, and adult membership in 1997 was estimated at 17 million.

d) Relationships between the TSPM churches and house churches. Most house churches regard with distaste government manipulation and control and see separation as fundamental to the survival of a spiritual Church. Some house church leaders reject all contact, others have succumbed to the increased pressures and outright persecution since 1989 to register. In 1995, an estimated 30% of Protestant Christians were linked with TSPM churches. This has probably risen to 40% in 2000. Increasingly there is overlap with many attending and ministering in both. There is also a steady drift away to house churches by new converts disillusioned with the level of compromise.

e) The future of the TSPM. Growth, despite its major flaws and weaknesses, has been astonishing. This is likely to slow as the TSPM leadership becomes entrenched in bureaucratic, corrupt ways and fails to address either the spiritual needs of ordinary Christians or the serious social problems of China. The result is likely to be fragmentation, regionalization, renewed denominationalism and massive defections to house church networks. Pray for revival and renewal to purify the TSPM and its associated churches.

2 Leadership training is woefully deficient, and a crisis need. It is reckoned that there is but one ordained pastor for every 7,000 TSPM members. By 1999 there were 18 official seminaries with 1,200 residential and 3,000 distance-learning students. Pray for:

a) Faculty – often selected for their political correctness rather than for their walk with God. Pray for those teaching who are Evangelical despite the prevailing liberal theology and textbooks. Pray that biblical teaching and holiness of life might be central in their lives. In 2000 the anti-Evangelical stance was strengthened.

b) Students. Many apply, but few are selected; nevertheless most are Evangelical but face a constant battle against the erosion of their faith. The number of students and ordinations has been deliberately restricted, but during 1999 a considerable expansion in facilities and enrolment was reported. Only 800 pastors were ordained 1992-95, and most of these were over 45 years of age.

c) Protection from interference. During 1999 a severe purge of evangelical faculty, textbooks and students was carried out at the national seminary in Nanjing. Support from congregations for Nanjing, the five regional and 12 provincial seminaries is very low because of the political manipulation. Libraries are usually poorly stocked.

3 The Catholics were divided when the Marxists set up the Catholic Patriotic Association in 1957 with its own structure and hierarchy independent of the Vatican. The majority of Catholics demurred and went 'underground', with their own bishops and illegal seminaries. The loyalist Catholics have suffered severe persecution because of their commitment to a foreign leader. More recently there has been a growing rapprochement between the two. There are over 12m Catholics in the two bodies, and over 60,000 are converted annually. Many Catholics are charismatic and ardent in their faith.

4 The unregistered or house church networks are the heart of the true Church in China. Intense persecution has indigenized and purified it. Prayer, revival, simple living and a christocentric theology characterize it. Twenty or more larger networks are known to exist, but their numbers are a matter of conjecture. Reasonable estimates range between 30 and 80 million, or 50% to 80% of the total Christian population. There are many challenges to pray over:

a) Persecution is a present reality. Increasing pressure since 1989 is a measure of the fear of the Communists of such a large movement they do not control. Their aim is subjugation or elimination of this threat. Since 1996 the level of persecution has increased on house churches not willing to register with the TSPM. Arrests (hundreds in 1999), heavy fines, forcible closures and destruction of church buildings (200 in 1997) have increased in some key areas. Pray for the continued commitment of believers to preach Christ and Him crucified whatever the cost and without compromise.

b) Ongoing evangelistic outreach. Witnessing Christians and itinerant preachers, though violently opposed by the authorities, have spread far and wide, but many provinces, districts and towns are still unreached. Pray that Christians may continue to be bold for Jesus and implement their missionary strategy for reaching China.

c) Challenges to face:

i) Isolation and lack of teaching can lead to extremes in legalism, theological emphases and use of spiritual gifts.

ii) How to handle increased contacts and communications with evangelical Christians around the world – finance is a major component for good and bad. The new quarterly magazine Voice of China is compiled by leaders of house church networks for distribution worldwide.

iii) How to make what has long been a strong rural movement impact those who are urban and intellectuals. The lack of formal education of many leaders, many of which are women, hampers this. Pray that more men may be converted and that an impact for God might be made on the cities. The authorities are better able to control and restrict any Christian activity in cities, so house churches tend to be smaller and more secretive.

d) The intellectual elite is largely urban. Only since 1989 have large numbers of students and professionals come to Christ, yet the proportion that believe is far lower than in the rural areas. Networks of small, often secret, groups have emerged. Pray for the multiplication of such, for this is of inestimable importance for the future of the gospel in China.

e) Leadership for the churches. The widespread lack of Bibles, teaching materials and Bible-literate leaders has stimulated many innovative discipleship ministries in different house church networks during the 1990s. Pray for many godly men and women to be raised up.

f) The multiplication of heretical sects and doctrinal extremist groups. The lack of Bible knowledge and of mature leadership has opened the way for many exotic messianic, syncretistic and divisive groups, some of which have spread over much of China. In some areas they now constitute 5% or more of the unregistered church population. Many have exotic names such as Lightning in the East, Lingling, Shouters, Established King, Cold Water, etc. Pray that this growth might be slowed by the loving proclamation of the truth of God's Word through radio, literature and preaching.

g) Spiritual unity has been furthered by recent persecution. Leaders of various house church networks are increasingly standing together in both affirming their common biblical faith and making public statements to the authorities. Pray for continued development of trust and fellowship between different house church networks and between Bible-believing leaders of the house churches and the TSPM.

h) Missions vision. Some house church networks have long cherished and supported missions outreach to other provinces and to ethnic minorities. There is growing vision for foreign missions and some Mainland Chinese have become missionaries in other lands. Some predict China could become the greatest sending nation in the 21st Century!

THE LESS EVANGELIZED

About 7% of China's population is Christian today, but their distribution is not even. In this section are given some of the nationally significant but less evangelized sections of the population.

1 The nearly 60 million Communist Party members are, by definition, atheists, but ideology is a facade to cover self-seeking opportunism. Disillusionment and defection to Christianity has led to many resignations. Pray that the Holy Spirit may convict many more of their sin and need. Among them are also many secret believers.

2 The armed forces, who are the protectors of the Marxist state, and who jealously guard their privileged position and network of industries. There are 2.8m in uniform, but very few Christians among them.

3 The 'lost generation', the young people mobilized as the Cultural Revolution Red Guards. The millions involved were morally warped and exploited, losing their youth, education prospects and hopes of betterment in the madness of those years. Pray that they may find hope in Christ.

4 Those still bound by the idolatrous superstitions of Daoism, Buddhism and the legalism of Confucianism. These customs and philosophies are being revived, but young people are not so attracted to them. A new religion, Falun Gong, gained world publicity and shocked the authorities in 1999 with a quiet protest in Beijing – they claim 70m followers in China. Pray for the millions still bound and needing the freedom only the gospel can give.

5 Children and young people under 18 number over 500m. It is illegal to teach them religious 'superstitions'. The TSPM churches are not allowed to run Sunday Schools or youth groups – most have forgotten how or are afraid to minister to children and young people, but some are quietly doing more to disciple them. One of the great needs of China today is for teaching materials and the know-how of Christian ministry to this group.

6 University students (3m) are the key for the future. The shock of the events of 1989 have brought many to Christ, but most students are still unreached. Pray for:

a) Christians among them to be built up in their faith and to be fervent witnesses.

b) The establishment of Bible study groups on every one of the 1,054 campuses.

c) Those who study abroad. About 100,000 go overseas annually for study, but only about 25% return. Most go to Japan, USA, Europe and Australia. Their numbers in 1996 globally were 600,000. Among them is an unprecedented openness and a good proportion have come to the Lord.

7 Muslims number 25m, and are almost entirely linked to specific ethnic groups – the indigenous Uygur, Kazak, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Tatar of Xinjiang, the Salar of Qinghai, Dongxiang of Gansu and the Chinese Hui of Ningxia and scattered all over China. (See under the provinces below.) Islam is a sensitive issue in China because of a past history of Hui revolts and unrest in Xinjiang. Few ministries are targeting the Muslim peoples, and few Chinese believers feel adequately prepared for such outreach. Pray for the evangelization of these peoples and for the calling of committed workers to them.

8 Ethnic Minorities comprise 8.7% of the population, 100m people in 464 distinct non-Han ethno-linguistic groups. This chart gives an indication of the spread of the gospel among 450 of them:


Christian Percentage No. of Peoples Population
Over 50% 8 596,079
20 – 50% 15 4,064,510
5 – 20% 18 1,269,260
1 – 5% 41 5,341,140
0.1 – 1% 69 43,874,550
0.01 – 0.1% 40 39,602,380
0.00% 259 5,752,507
Total 450 100,500,426

Note:

Only 8 peoples are majority Christian. This includes the A-Hmao and the Gha-Mu (Miao peoples), Eastern Lipo and the Ayi.

A further 15 peoples have large Christian populations including the Korean, Lisu, Wa, Nasu, Kado and Jingpo.

Over 368 peoples have less than 1% Christian.

Nearly 260 peoples have no known Christians at all.

Pray for:

a) A global concern for the evangelization of these numerous unreached peoples, and that many peoples still inaccessible to foreigners might be opened up.

b) Greater involvement of Christian tribals and Chinese Han Christians in reaching them. Over one hundred cross-cultural house church missionaries are known to be active among unreached minorities.

c) The planting of indigenous churches and discipling of leaders.

SUPPORTIVE MINISTRIES

The rapid growth of the Church and its influence on the democracy movement has heightened the ideological clash since 1989. The Communist Party and the old men that run it feel threatened by the powerful attraction of Christianity. The influence of foreign visitors, students and experts, and the pervasive impact of Christian radio programmes, videos, literature and Bibles and the explosive growth in the use of the Internet have been perceived as decisive in this. Opposition to and vigilance against all activities conducted by foreigners has increased since 1989. Pray that economic desire may overcome ideological fears and keep the door open for needed Christian input. Pray also that all who go may humbly listen, learn and adapt to the language and culture so as to maximize their long-term spiritual impact.

1 Missionaries, as such, are not welcome in China. Yet China's desire to improve trading relations with the world makes it possible for many Chinese and foreign Christians to enter as:

a) Tourists – over 30m visited China in 1995 and spent $US9 billion. Many Christians were among them. Pray for their ministry of bringing literature, aid, comfort and, in some cases, teaching. Pray also for safety for them and their baggage, tact and wisdom in their contacts, and guidance for travel.

b) Students – usually for language or cultural studies in various universities. In 2000 there were over 10,000 from 120 countries. Living conditions are often spartan and uncensored friendships with Chinese hard to maintain. Pray for Christians among them to be used of God to share Christ with those who are genuinely seeking the Lord.

c) Foreign experts and businessmen. China aims to recruit about 30,000 experts annually to teach English, Japanese and German as well as other subjects, and also to build up China's technology and industry. Pray that many may be radiant Christians able to impart their faith while on the job.

d) Chinese family members who visit their ancestral homes. These have flocked to China in their millions. Christians among them have sometimes seen astonishing results when staying with relatives.

2 Provision of Bibles is still inadequate, despite the large increase in the number of copies available. By 1999 it was reckoned that there were 36m Bibles in China. The famine of the Scriptures is most acute in provinces far from the 60 legal distribution points and for the house churches. Amity Foundation, founded in 1986 and sponsored by the TSPM and the UBS, set up a large printing operation in China, and over 22m Bibles and New Testaments had been printed by 1999 – nearly all going to TSPM congregations. House churches have now commenced their own Bible printing presses. A further 12m Bibles and NTs are estimated to have been brought in by visitors. Pray that this flow might increase and that Christians might have access to a copy of God's Word. There is a great need for study and children's Bibles. Importation of Bibles is not illegal but prevented for ideological reasons. The Bible League and OD are two of the largest suppliers of Bibles to the house churches.

3 Video and audio tapes. The increasing availability of play-back machines is making foreign-produced Scripture, song, evangelism and teaching tapes a useful means for disseminating the Truth. Pray for all involved in preparing and distributing these tapes.

a) The JESUS film is being widely seen on home video in 20 completed language versions (including eight Chinese dialects, Mongolian, Uygur and Zhuang). Many other language editions are in production or planned. Pray that the film may receive official recognition for public showing.

b) Teaching tapes that deal with the moral and ethical devastation left by Marxist thought and provide solid biblical teaching are a great need to help the many intellectuals who are coming to faith. Pray for the production of reading materials and tapes to fill this need.

c) GRN has produced gospel messages or tapes in 160 languages and dialects; much being done during 1999, but recordings are needed in many more.

4 Christian literature. There is an insatiable demand for hymn books, Bible study and other teaching materials, biographies, tracts, and apologetic materials to explain the gospel to students and intellectuals. Pray for:

a) Literature production in Hong Kong from where a widening range of literature is being published. Millions of copies are sent to the Mainland. Many agencies are involved in this ministry including Christian Communications Ltd., Chinese Church Support Ministries, AO, OD as well as denominational bodies. Pray for all aspects of publication and distribution.

b) Suitable literature and books for intellectuals are a great need. OMF have an extensive ministry to this group, having printed over 1.5m booklets.

c) The Amity Foundation Press in Nanjing has printed 10m copies of 130 book titles – many being commentaries and devotionals.

5 The Internet has become very popular and in 2000 there were an estimated 10m Internet users. Despite government efforts to control this medium, it is proving fertile soil for dissidents and many religious groups. Pray for its effective use for the gospel.

6 Christian radio has been and still is one of the most potent pre-evangelism and Christian teaching media for China today. Nearly every home now has a TV, and most a radio; less so in rural areas. Pray for:

a) The many hundreds of hours of broadcasting in Putonghua and other Han Chinese dialects which pour in from many Christian stations. Pray for lasting impact. TWR reckons their ministry has birthed 40,000 home groups, 50,000 leaders and 1m believers.

b) FEBC's use of four wave bands in Guam to minister simultaneously to young people, young Christians, church leaders and ethnic minorities. FEBC's DAWN China project encourages churches to adopt specific provinces and cities for intercession.

c) The protection of listeners. The authorities seek to obtain addresses of letter-writers to Hong Kong. Pray also for wisdom and tact for all links with listeners.

PROVINCES OF CHINA

Nearly all of China's provinces are larger than most members of the United Nations. They warrant specific prayer. Bear in mind the following:

1 Peoples are classified in two ways that are mutually incompatible.

a) The government census figures for the, then, 55 official 'nationalities' by province. These are usually represented as percentages of the present province population.

b) The 2001 publication, Operation China, a survey of nearly 500 ethno-linguistic groups of China. These are grouped by language family, and peoples are listed with their national population in the province where the highest proportion lives. So, each ethnic minority is listed with its population once, even if present in multiple provinces.

2 Religions. Only the missionary religions are enumerated, namely Christianity, Lama Buddhism and Islam. It is assumed that the rest of the provincial population will be either atheist, secular, or of the mix of religions and philosophies prevalent in China.

3 Christians. The counting of Christians in China is clouded by propagandists on both sides who either want to deflate numbers (TSPM/government) or inflate them (some Christian agencies). Here we have sought to be as objective as possible using many sources to apportion national figures to each province. There is still wide margin for error but, though somewhat speculative, we believe this reflects as true a picture as we can obtain at this time.

ANHUI PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 139,900 sq.km. One of the poorest provinces. Central China.

Population 63,400,000; 454 people/sq.km.

Capital Hefei 1.5 mill. Other major cities: Suixian 1.52m; Suzhow 1.27m; Huzhou 1.14m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 99.5%

Hui 0.5%. Main languages Putonghua, Huizhou.

RELIGION

Muslim 0.5%. Christian 11.6%: House churches 7.8%, TSPM 2.5%, all Catholics 1.3%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 Utopian Maoism was a disaster for Anhui's people. Huge numbers died in famines and flood. In their disillusionment many turned to Christ. Praise God for widespread revival, especially in the north, and blessing from there which has flowed to many parts of China.

2 Christian growth has been remarkable. From 50,000 Protestants in 1949 to 3m adults claimed by the TSPM today. The house church movement is much larger and there may be over 12m Christians of all varieties today.

3 Lack of leadership in the churches has resulted in the forming of a number of extreme or heretical groups. Some call Anhui 'the cradle of heresies.' In 1994 there were 40 pastors for 2,000 TSPM churches. Pray for the raising up of mature, godly leaders.

4 Persecution of unregistered churches became more severe in 1999 with a major drive against 'cults', harsh 're-education' programmes, closure of meetings, heavy fines and imprisonments. Pray for perseverance and purity of life and witness for believers.

BEIJING MUNICIPALITY

GEOGRAPHY

Area 23,000 sq.km. The nation's capital.

Population 13,500,000; 586 people/sq.km. 25% are work-seeking migrants from other parts of China.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 96.5% speaking Putonghua.

Hui 2%.

Manchu 1.4%.

Mongolian 0.1%.

RELIGION

Christian 4.4%: House churches 3.7%, all Catholics 0.4%, TSPM 0.3%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 China is ruled from Beijing. Pray for the leaders of the nation – for wisdom, humanity, seeking of the good of the people rather than self-interest, and courage to make the long-delayed economic and political decisions essential for the future.

2 The Communist authorities keep tight control of the Christians and Christian activity, being particularly severe on unofficial ministry. Beijing is the only part of China where Protestants in registered churches are fewer in number than in 1949. There are only 8 registered churches but many small home meeting points of the TSPM. House churches were also few, but a number of secret intellectual groups came into being after 1989. House church believers numbered 150,000 in 1998, but grew rapidly to 500,000 by 2000. Pray for a further opening of the capital to the gospel.

3 There are 3m migrants without legal residence papers. They form a vast under-class in poor ghettos. There are many street children. Pray for the evangelization of these marginalized peoples.

CHONGQING MUNICIPALITY

GEOGRAPHY

Area Approximately 120,000 sq.km. China's newest municipality carved out of the eastern fifth of Sichuan Province.

Population 31,200,000; 260 people/sq.km.

Capital Chongqing 3.9m. Other major city: Fuling 1.37m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 98.5%.

Other 1.5%. Hui, Tujia, Miao.

PEOPLES

Chinese. Some Muslims. Christian 2.6%: House churches 1.5%, TSPM 0.7%, all Catholics 0.4%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 Chongqing is the industrial and trade hub for southwest China on the Yangtze River, and reputedly one of the ten most polluted cities in the world through heavy use of coal. Pray for the growth of Christian outreach in this strategic but spiritually needy city where there are only 56 approved TSPM meeting places.

2 Many of the 800,000 people being displaced by the nearby Three Gorges Dam will be resettled in Chongqing and Fuling. Pray for hearts opened to the gospel as they go through traumatic change.

FUJIAN PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 123,100 sq.km on the coast facing Taiwan.

Population 34,300,000; 279 people/sq.km.

Capital Fuzhou 1,827,000.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 97.5%. Speaking 8 languages, largest: Min Nan, Min Dong, Puxian, Min Bei.

Minorities 2.5%. She 450,000; Hui 41,000; 3 Austronesian peoples 3,700.

RELIGION

Buddhism and Daoism strong. Muslim 0.1%. Christian 10.7%: House churches 6.8%, TSPM 2.7%, all Catholics 1.2%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 The first Protestant missionaries arrived in the early 19th Century. Since the Communist Revolution the Church has grown much – especially the house church networks. The Assembly Halls (Watchman Nee) and the True Jesus Church are strong. Pray for continued growth. There have been crack-downs and church closures by the authorities in recent years.

2 Buddhism and Daoism have revived – over 20,000 temples have been illegally built or restored. Pray that the millions seeking the help of religion may come to Jesus.

3 The unreached in two significant groups:

a) The 800,000 She are a Hmong people related to the Miao, but Christians are only around 1,000 (0.12%).

b) The 4,000 Ami, Bunun and Paiwan are related to the mountain peoples of Taiwan where most have become Christian. Their mainland relatives have no known witness among them.

GANSU PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 366,500 sq.km. Large northwestern province on the edge of the Gobi Desert. China's poorest province.

Population 25,700,000; 70 people/sq.km.

Capital Lanzhou 2.17m. Other major city: Tianshui 1.4m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese and other migrants 91.7%.

Hui 4.8%.

Mongolian 2%. Dongxiang 482,000; Bonan 11,000; Enger Yugur 5,000.

Tibetan 1.5%. Rongmahbrogpa Amdo 147,000{/SENTENCE}; other Tibetan peoples(3) 142,000; Saragh Yugur 10,000.

RELIGION

Muslim 6% – mainly Hui, Dongxian. Lama Buddhism 1.7%. Christian 1.9%: House churches 1.1%, TSPM 0.4%, all Catholics 0.4%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 The Christian population is relatively small. The area was pioneered by CIM(OMF), CMA and AoG. There were only 7,000 Protestants in 170 churches in 1949, so praise God for growth since then. Areas of weakness – 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.

2 The least evangelized:

a) The Dongxian, Bonan and Enger Yugur are of mixed Mongolian background and are strongly Muslim. No one has ever sought to evangelize these isolated peoples – probably China's least evangelized. There are no known believers.

b) The Muslim Hui are numerous in the cities; the city of Linxia has only a handful of believers. There is very little outreach and few Christians.

c) Tibetans are largely Buddhist and number 400,000. There is one Tibetan church. Four Tibetan peoples are indigenous to Gansu – the Jone and Saragh Yugur have a handful of believers, but the Zhugqu and Boyu have none.

GUANGDONG PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 197,100 sq.km. On southeast coast. Both Hong Kong and Macau were British and Portuguese colonial enclaves of Guangdong and though now under Chinese rule, remain Special Administrative Zones with their own autonomy.

Population 72,409,000; 367 people/sq.km.

Capital Guangzhou (Canton) 5.2m. Other major cities: Chaozhou 1.4m; Zhongshan 1.3m; Shantou 1.15m; Zhanjiang 1.08m; Shenzhen 1.04m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 98.2%. Predominantly Cantonese and, in northeast, Hakka; also Dan and Shaozhou.

Ethnic minorities 1.8%. Zhuang. Indigenous Yao(2) 62,000.

RELIGION

Predominantly secularism and traditional Chinese religions. Christian 1.4%: House churches 0.6%, all Catholics 0.5%, TSPM 0.3%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 Guangdong was the first province evangelized by Protestants. Robert Morrison arrived in Macau in 1807. The British seizure of Hong Kong and western opium wars against China have soured Guangdong's people to the gospel to this day. Christianity is still seen as a foreign imposition and response to the gospel is relatively limited. Pray for healing from the past and removal of all obstacles so that many may turn to Christ.

2 Cantonese and Hakka Chinese are often traders and entrepreneurs. This flair, plus the proximity of Hong Kong and its global links with overseas Chinese, have boosted the economy, but with much moral declension, corruption and greed. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in individuals and society for God-pleasing change.

3 Christians have been under severe pressure from the police who, since 1999, have made great efforts to subjugate the house churches. Christians in Guangzhou are only about 1% of the population, and registered churches few. Pray for the brethren and their perseverance.

4 The Biao Mien and Zaomin Yao in the northern mountains are two distinct peoples, but in both there are only a few believers, mainly young people.

5 Cantonese and Hakka are two major components of the Overseas Chinese in SE Asia and other continents. The Overseas Chinese are some of the wealthiest peoples of the world and also have proved receptive to the gospel. Pray for a continued harvest among them and that they might be a blessing to Guangdong, China and the world.

GUANGXI ZHUANG AUTONOMOUS REGION

GEOGRAPHY

Area 220,400 sq.km. The southernmost mainland coastal state; adjoining Vietnam. Subtropical. The home area of China's largest ethnic minority, the Zhuang, and the province therefore given a higher, though nominal, degree of autonomy.

Population 47,800,000; 217 people/sq.km.

Capital Nanning 1.6m. Other major cities: Guigang 1.86m; Yulin 1.45m; Qinzhou 1.35m; Liuzhou 1m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 56.2%. Mainly Putonghua, Hakka, Cantonese, Pinghua and Pingdi.

Ethnic minorities 43.8%

Tai 38%; 10 peoples, largest: Zhuang(2) 15,772,000; Mulao 206,000; Nung 137,000; Tho 134,000; Maonan 52,000; E 35,000.

Hmong-Mien 5.6%. 11 peoples, largest: Iu Mien(3) 1,010,000; Biao Mien(3) 74,000; Nunu 49,000.

Other 0.2%. Jing 25,000; Palyu 12,000.

RELIGION

Mainly Chinese religions and animism among the minorities. Christian 1.0%: House churches 0.4%, TSPM 0.3%, all Catholics 0.3%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 The growth of Christians among the Thai-related Zhuang and also among the Han gives cause for praise! From 7,000 Christians in 1949 there are over 10 times that membership today – about half are Zhuang. The Christian community also has a significant number of house church folk as well. Yet government regulations against Christians have been rigorously applied. Pray for ongoing growth and provision of leadership. The TSPM only had 22 registered ordained pastors for the province in 1997 for the 250 churches.

2 The Zhuang have responded in the last decade through a concerted prayer and ministry effort for their evangelization – radio ministry (FEBC), the JESUS film, Bible translation, etc. There are now over 46,000 Christians in 250 fellowships – mainly among the Northern Zhuang. In other Tai groups there has been a little response from the Tho, Nung, Mulao, but no witness among the E, Lakkia, Pusha and Yerong.

3 The Yao peoples total about 2.2m in the mountains of Guangxi. They speak hundreds of languages and dialects – six in Guangxi. Only in two of the Iu Mien peoples have little Christian groups emerged, with a maximum of 10,000 Christians (0.4%). Among the Younuo, Nunu, Changping Iu Mien, Bunuo and Biao Mien there has been no ministry or response. Pray for the evangelization of every people in Guangxi. Bible translation for most peoples has yet to begin, and the Zhuang NT is still incomplete.

GUIZHOU PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 174,000 sq.km. Mountainous; southern inland province. Poor and underdeveloped.

Population 37,000,000; 212 people/sq.km.

Capital Guiyang 2,230,000. Other major cities: Liupanshui 2,479,000; Anshun 1,567,000.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 67.4%.

Ethnic minorities 32.6%. Over 10 Chinese sub-groups.

Hui 0.4%.

Hmong-Mien 18.5%. 41 peoples, largest: Miao-related: Hmu(3) 2.7m; Miao(20) 1.46m; A-Hmao 387,000; Hmong(4) 276,000; Gha-Mu 108,000; Ge 103,000; Mjuniang 76,000; Ga Mong 54,000. Yao-related: Baheng(2) 46,000; Baonuo 25,000.

Tai 11%. 13 peoples, largest: Bouyei 3.18m; Dong(2) 3.08m; Shui 430,000; Yanghuang 49,000; Mulao Jia 30,000.

Sino-Tibetan 2.7%. 10 peoples, largest: Nasu (Yi) 539,000; Shuixi Nosu 235,000; Nanjingren 122,000; Guopu 17,000.

RELIGION

Buddhism mixed with polytheism and animism is strong among ethnic minorities. Muslim 0.4%. Christian, mainly among Miao and minorities, 3.9%: House churches 2.2%, TSPM 1.1%, all Catholics 0.6%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 Praise God for amazing growth of the Church in some areas. Two Miao peoples, A-Hmao and Gha-Mu, are majority Christian and the Yi peoples have large Christian minorities (Guopu 18%, Lagou 33%, Wusa Nasu 24%, Tushu 8%). Most of these Christians are in the northwest. The 10,000 Christians of 1949 have probably grown to 1 – 1.5 million since then. There is a chronic shortage of educated leaders.

2 The challenge of the unreached is great. Success in a few ethnic groups obscures the remaining need.

a) The more heavily populated southeast of Guizhou has possibly only 1,000 believers in registered churches.

b) The 20 Miao peoples – two are Christian, two have a significant minority of believers, six have a handful of believers, but 10 have none at all.

c) There are 39 peoples indigenous to Guizhou with no witness whatsoever, including the 4 Yao peoples. Among the 13 Tai peoples only the Bouyei (0.16% Christian) and Cai (1.5%) have churches, most have no believers. The Hmong, Hmu, Shui are all large clusters of peoples, but with only a handful of believers. Pray for local and outside Christians to reach out to these unreached peoples.

HAINAN PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 34,300 sq.km. A tropical island facing Vietnam. China's southernmost and smallest province, but its largest Special Economic Zone and tourist haven.

Population 7,594,000; 221 people/sq.km.

Capital Haikou 700,000.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 75.7%. Mainly Hainanese, some Hakka.

Tai 24%. Li(5) 1.18m; Lingao 641,700; Cun 79,000.

Other 0.3%. Indonesian 9,000; Utsat (Malay) 7,000.

RELIGION

Mixture of polytheism, Buddhism and Daoism among indigenous peoples. Christian 4.6%: House churches 3.9%, TSPM 0.5%, all Catholics 0.2%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 Hainan had an economic boom in the 1980s which led to spectacular growth as a Special Economic Zone and huge corruption, followed by an equally spectacular bust. There has been a considerable turning to God with an annual doubling by 2000 to 360,000 believers. There are numerous house churches, but there are divisions among Christian leaders. Pray for the effective witness of the Christians to an immoral society.

2 The Li are the largest indigenous people. They have rebelled 32 times in the past against Chinese rule. Pray that they may openly receive the King of kings – only 1,000 have done so. Among the related Lingao there are 5,000 Christians, and the Cun 200. There is nothing of God's Word, nor known recordings, nor the JESUS film in any of the 8 languages or dialects. Pray that these peoples may be reached.

3 The Utsat are China's only Malay people. They are all Muslim with no known believers or attempts to reach them.

HEBEI PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 202,700 sq.km. North China and almost surrounding Beijing.

Population 67,415,000; 333 people/sq.km.

Capital Shijiazhuang 1.88m. Other major cities: Handan 3.76m; Tangshan 1.63m; Pingxiang 1.52m; Xintai 1.37m; Huainan 1.27m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 98.6%, speaking Putonghua.

Hui 1.4%.

RELIGION

Secularism and traditional Chinese religions. Muslim 1.4%. Christian 4.0%: all Catholics 2.3%, house churches 1.2%, TSPM 0.5%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 Hebei is one of the most rigidly policed provinces and Christians have suffered much over the past two decades. Pray for both grace and greater freedom for the Christians in their strategic province.

2 Hebei is the heart of Catholicism in China with a large proportion of Catholics. Many remain loyal to the Vatican. These latter have suffered particularly severely since 1997. Protestant and Independent Christians have increased in numbers in some areas, but repression has hindered registration of churches.

HENAN PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 167,000 sq.km. North central China on the fickle Yellow River, prone to flooding and course changes with frequent loss of life.

Population 95,400,000; 571 people/sq.km.

Capital Zhengzhou 2.28m. Other major cities: Luoyang 1.57m; Puyang 1.28m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 99% speaking Putonghua.

Hui 1.0%.

RELIGION

Muslim 1%. Christian 10.4%: House churches 5.2%, TSPM 2.1%, marginal groups 2%, all Catholics 1.1%.

1 Mao's disastrous policies caused over 8 million Henanese to die of famine. Henan was declared an 'Atheistic Zone' in the 1960s, but today Communist officials complain of it as a 'Jesus Nest' suffering from 'Christianity fever'! Praise God for the spectacular growth of the Church. Revival began during the Cultural Revolution with mass conversions, miracles and vision for evangelizing China. Some counties are reported to be largely or completely Christian today.

2 Outreach from Henan churches has been one of the great stories of the expansion of Christianity. Church planting teams (often young women) fanned out over China, followed by discipling teachers. Dangers for this movement:

a) Multiplication of extremes and deviant sects because of lack of teaching or due to leadership disputes.

b) Increased denominationalism.

c) Increased persecution since 1999 with many arrests, punitive fines and destruction of some church buildings.

HEILONGJIANG PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 463,600 sq.km. China's most northerly province, bordering on Siberia. One of the three provinces of former Manchuria. Huge natural resources, but many 'rust belt' industries.

Population 38,805,000; 84 people/sq.km.

Capital Harbin 5.48m. Other major cities: Qiqihar 1.92m; Jiamusi 1.13m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 96.4%.

Manchu 2.8%.

Hui 0.4%.

Mongolian 0.4%. 3 peoples, largest: Daur 150,000.

Turkic-Altaic 0.02%. 4 peoples.

Other 0.02%. Japanese 6,000.

RELIGION

Shamanism and Buddhism are prevalent among the indigenous peoples. Muslim 0.4%. Christian 5.3%: House churches 3.1%, TSPM 1.6%, all Catholics 0.6%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 Rapid church growth has occurred in both TSPM and especially in house churches. There are thousands of worshipping groups and churches, but only 24 ordained TSPM pastors. Pray for maturity and stability as well as provision of godly leadership.

2 Most of the small indigenous Mongolian and Altaic peoples are shamanistic. Many are resentful of the Chinese 'takeover' of their homelands. The largest, the Daur, have begun to respond to the gospel. There are about 1,000 Christians. Pray for non-Han missionaries to commit their lives to reaching these peoples. Most, such as the Hezhen, Bogol, Khakas, Kyakala, Olot and Saman, total only about 15,000 people. There is nothing of the Scriptures or other media for these peoples – except portions of the Scriptures in Hezhen.

HUBEI PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 187,500 sq.km. Astride the Yangtze River, a province of many lakes and much agriculture.

Population 60,653,000; 323 people/sq.km.

Capital Wuhan 4.75m. Other major cities: Suizhou 1.94m; Xiantao 1.84m; Jingmen 1.5m; Echeng 1.1m; Honghu 1.1m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 96.3%, speaking Putonghua.

Tujia 3.1%.

Miao 0.4%.

RELIGION

Muslim 0.2%. Christian 1.3%: House churches 0.7%, all Catholics 0.3%, TSPM 0.3%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 The Church grew considerably before 1949, but since then growth has not matched that of many other areas. The authorities have maintained a tight control – especially over the cities, so registered churches are relatively few. Pray for a shattering of the political, ideological and spiritual chains that bind the people.

2 The house churches are strong in some rural areas but isolation and poverty hinder expansion.

HUNAN PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 210,500 sq.km. Central China.

Population 66,895,000; 318 people/sq.km.

Capital Changsha 1.74m. Other major cities: Changde 1.65m; Yueyang 1.24m, Leiyang 1.5m; Lianyuan 1.35m; Xiangxiang 1.15m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 95.7%. .Putonghua and Xiang are spoken

Hmong-Mien 2%. Miao peoples: Ghao-Xong(2) 1.1m. Yao peoples: Iu Mien 168,000; Wunai 10,000.

Sino-Tibetan 1.6%: Tujia 740,000; Mozhihei 5,000.

Tai 0.7%.

RELIGION

Muslim 0.1%. Christian 2.4%: House churches 1.8%, TSPM 0.3%, all Catholics 0.3%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 Maoism in this, Mao's home province, is still strong. There has long been an anti-foreign spirit which has slowed the penetration of the gospel. Hunan is possibly China's spiritually hardest Han Chinese population. Pray for the removal of the spiritual barriers.

2 The less evangelized:

a) Changsha, the capital, has relatively few Christians; most of the growth in house churches is rural and, in some areas thriving.

b) The Tujia are one of the larger peoples in the world without anything of the Bible, and not yet even a script. There are now about 30,000 Christians (0.3%).

c) The Miao peoples. The Ghao-Xong are marginally reached with 5,000 Catholics, but the Yao Iu Mien and Wunai have no known believers.

INNER MONGOLIA AUTONOMOUS REGION (NEI MONGOL)

GEOGRAPHY

Area 1,177,500 sq.km. Windswept, barren grassland and desert bordering on Mongolia. The western point is 3,500km from its north-eastern point.

Population 23,928,000; 20 people/sq.km.

Capital Hohhot 1.26m. Other major cities: Baotou 1.68m; Huaide 1.1m; Chifeng 1.04m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 84.2%, speaking Putonghua.

Mongolian 13.3%. 5 peoples, largest: Mongolian 5.8m; Buryat 100,000; Khalkha 52,000.

Manchu 1.3%.

Hui 0.9%.

Turkic-Altaic 0.2%: Evenki(2) 29,000; Oroqen 9,000.

Other 0.1% Korean.

RELIGION

Most Mongolians are Lamaistic Buddhist but many of the smaller minorities are Shamanists. Christian 4.7%: House churches 2.7%, all Catholics 1.3%,TSPM 0.7%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 Mongolians have become a minority in their own land because of the massive immigration of Han Chinese. Yet there are more Mongolians here than in independent Mongolia to the north. Few have become Christian (some estimate 12,000 or 0.21%). Pray for:

a) Workers (Mongolian from the growing churches in Mongolia, or other nationalities) to be called.

b) The New Testament to be translated and printed in the Mongolian vertical script.

c) Churches to be planted. Officials claim that there is no justification for churches since no missionaries were here in the past.

d) The binding of demonic powers in the Lamaism and black magic practiced by Mongolians.

e) FEBC radio broadcasts to them.

2 House churches have multiplied across the region but almost all are Han groups. They have to keep a low profile because of the prevailing repression. Pray for continued growth, also for outreach to non-Han indigenous peoples.

3 Among the nomadic Evenki and Oroqen along the Russian border there is no permanent witness, and only a handful of Christians among the Evenki. Few have heard the gospel. Violence and alcoholism is a special problem for the Oroqen.

JIANGSU PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 102,600 sq.km. Relatively prosperous, fertile coastal province west of Shanghai.

Population 73,866,000; 720 people/sq.km.

Capital Nanjing 3.38m. Other major cities: Xuzhou 1.83m; Wuxi 1.05m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese – speaking Putonghua.

RELIGION

Muslim 0.2%. Christian 7.6%: House churches 5.1%, TSPM 1.5%, all Catholics 1%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 Church growth has been spectacular since 1980, with over one million associated with TSPM churches and many more with burgeoning house churches. Pray that no subterfuge or attack of the enemy of souls may succeed in hindering that growth.

2 Nanjing is an important centre for Christians – one of the most prestigious TSPM seminaries and the Amity Press are located here.

JIANGXI PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 164,800 sq.km. South-central China.

Population 42,654,000; 259 people/sq.km.

Capital Nanchang 1.84m. Other major cities: Pingxiang 1.87m; Fuzhou 1.42m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese – speaking Putonghua and Gan.

RELIGION

Christian 4.8%: House churches 3.4%, TSPM 0.9%, all Catholics 0.5%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 The Communist Long March began here – a march that ended with the political triumph for that ideology, but an immense disaster for China. The blight of that history still affects Jiangxi. Pray for the release of the province from all that opposes God.

2 There are some areas where Christians have multiplied, but many parts of the province are relatively under-evangelized.

JILIN PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 187,000 sq.km. Part of former Manchuria, bordering on North Korea and Siberia.

Population 27,153,000; 145 people/sq.km.

Capital Changchun 2.95m. Other major cities: Jilin 1.77m; Gongzhuling 1.33m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 91.9%, speaking Putonghua.

Korean 4.9%.

Manchu 2.3%.

Hui 0.5%.

Mongolian 0.4%.

RELIGION

Many Koreans practice a mix of Buddhism and Shamanism. Muslim 0.5%. Christian 5.7%: House churches 4.1%, TSPM 0.9%, all Catholics 0.7%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 The Church is relatively strong with many registered and unregistered congregations. A large minority of the Christians are Koreans. Nearly a third of the 2.1m Koreans in Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang Provinces are Christian. Praise God for this.

2 Changchun has a much lower percentage of Christians. Pray for churches to be multiplied.

3 The Chinese Korean Church has an unusual role to play for North Korea. The terrible plight of their kinsfolk in that repressed land has brought many famine and political victims to them. In the event that Communism collapses, these Christians will play a vital part in the healing and re-evangelization of North Korea.

LIAONING PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 151,000 sq.km. Southernmost of the three provinces of Manchuria, bordering on the Yellow Sea and North Korea. Heavily industrialized – much of it state-controlled.

Population 42,863,000; 284 people/sq.km.

Capital Shenyang (Mukden) 5.68m. Other major cities: Dalian 3.15m; Anshan 1.94m; Fushun 1.7m; Taian 1.57m; Wafangdian 1.34m; Dandong 1.2m; Benxi 1.17m; Haicheng 1.16m; Fuxian 1.14m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 90%, speaking Putonghua.

Manchu 5.7%.

Korean 2.4%.

Mongolian 1.2%.

Hui 0.7%. Also Xibe 180,500.

RELIGION

Muslim 0.7%. Christian 5.1%: House churches 3%, all Catholics 1.1%, TSPM 1%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 The Church has grown significantly from a strong Presbyterian pre-revolution base. Over 20% of Christians in the province are Korean. A special effort began in 1997 to suppress Protestant and Catholic 'illegal' activities and compel the numerous house churches to register. Foreigners, especially Koreans, were noted to be especially active in church planting. Pray for wisdom, fortitude and evangelistic fervour for the believers.

2 The Manchu conquered and ruled China from 1644 to 1911, but in the process lost their culture. Of the 12.6m Manchu, only 200,000 retain a distinctly Manchu culture and their language is almost extinct. The majority live in the three provinces of former Manchuria but are also scattered across China. Most follow the range of Chinese secular and religious views, but some are still shamanist. Response to the gospel is very limited and known Christians are only 10,000 in number – less than 0.1% of the Manchu. Pray for this large unreached people.

3 The Xibe are an Altaic-Tungus people that have been largely assimilated into Chinese culture, but only a handful are known to be Christian.

NINGXIA HUI AUTONOMOUS REGION

GEOGRAPHY

Area 66,400 sq.km. Arid steppe with a fertile strip along the Yellow River in north China.

Population 5,410,000; 81 people/sq.km.

Capital Yinchuan 300,000.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 66.5%, speaking Putonghua.

Hui 33.4%.

Manchu 0.1%.

RELIGION

Muslim 34%. Christian 3.9%: all Catholics 1.9%, house churches 1.8%, TSPM 0.2%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 The Hui number 10.6m, but are found in every province of China. Only a minority live in their Autonomous Region. They are descendants of Muslim traders, Mongolians and Chinese. They strongly retain their culture and religion, but speak Putonghua. They are the largest Muslim ethnic group in China. After 30 years of mission outreach before 1951, very few had become Christians. There is renewed interest in reaching them. There are only about 200 scattered believers among them. Pray that in every city across China, local Christians might have a burden to reach them and the willingness to adapt their approach to be effective.

2 There is a large-scale turning to Christianity in the north along the Yellow River where there are many Han immigrants. The Catholic Church has seen the greatest growth. Pray for adequate leadership and good literature for these Christians – both in short supply.

QINGHAI PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 721,000 sq.km. A huge, high alpine desert province in West China on the Tibetan Plateau.

Population 5,098,000; 7 people/sq.km.

Capital Xining 937,000.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 59.9%, speaking Putonghua.

Sino-Tibetan 19.4%. 8 peoples, largest: Amdo Tibetan(2) 710,000; Golog 128,000; Khampa Tibetan 118,000; Sogwo Arig 37,000.

Hui 13.7%.

Mongolian 4.8%. 4 peoples: Tu 200,000; Oirat 91,000, Mongour 40,000; Bonan 6,000.

Turkic-Altaic 2.2%. 2 peoples: Salar 113,000; Kazakh 3,000.

RELIGION

Muslim 16%. Christian 2.3%: House churches 1.4%, TSPM 0.6%, all Catholics 0.3%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 This desolate region is dotted with labour camps. 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.

2 In the 1940s there were only a few hundred Christians, mainly in Xining, but in the last 20 years growth has been significant in the few urban areas. There are only five registered TSPM churches and 40 meeting points in the province. The believers are poor but fervent in outreach – pray that this ministry might be fruitful.

3 The unreached:

a) The Tibetans are strong in their Lamaistic Buddhism. Their living conditions are harsh, and they depend on their large herds of yak. Unprecedented heavy snows in 1996 decimated these herds and made many destitute. Christian help for them gave opportunities for witness. There are now a handful of isolated believers. Pray for open hearts, bound demonic powers and for many people to be free in Jesus.

b) The Tu and Mongour are Lamaistic Buddhists with no known believers. They are isolated from existing outreach.

c) The Muslim Hui in Xining are numerous and there are a handful of Christians, but few witness to them.

d) The Muslim Salar and Bonan remain completely unreached.

SHAANXI PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 195,800 sq.km. in north-central China.

Population 36,828,000; 188 people/sq.km.

Capital Xian 3,352,000. Once the capital of China in the T'ang dynasty. Famous for the buried terracotta army.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 99.6%, speaking Putonghua.

Hui 0.4%.

RELIGION

Muslim 0.4%. Christian 4.5%: House churches 2.7%, TSPM 1.0%, all Catholics 0.8%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 Shaanxi was the birthplace of Christianity in China. The Nestorians built their first church in Xian in 635. Terrible persecution wiped out this witness. Pray that the 21st Century may be one of triumph for the Church.

2 The Church has grown dramatically from 30,000 Christians in 1949 to officially 350,000 and unofficially maybe nearly 3m today. Pray for the spiritual unity and health of Shaanxi Christians and that they may retain the fire of the Holy Spirit into the next generation.

SHANDONG PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 153,300 sq.km. Northern coastal province on the Shandong Peninsula in the Yellow Sea.

Population 90,928,000; 593 people/sq.km.

Capital Jinan 4.79m. Other major cities: Qingdao 4.38m; Zibo 3.34m; Tai'an 1.9m; Zaozhuang 2.4m; Linyi 1.61m; Weifang 1.23m; Laiwu 1.23m; Heze 1.18m; Rizhau 1.15m; Liling 1m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 99.6%, speaking Putonghua.

Hui 0.4%.

RELIGION

Muslim 0.4%. Christian 3%: House churches 1.7%, TSPM 1%, all Catholics 0.3%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 Shandong was the birthplace and home of Confucius, whose philosophy and writings have deeply moulded Chinese culture to this day. Pray that the Chinese may be freed from the social demands which hinder many from commitment to Christ.

2 Tai'an is near one of China's most 'holy' mountains, Taishan. This is a major spiritual stronghold on which prayer should be focused.

3 The Jesus Family, a remarkable form of communal Christianity, began in this province. They were influential in the start of the house church movement of which they are a part today. Pray for the spiritual health of all forms of indigenous Christianity and for the centrality of Scripture in their life and teaching.

SHANGHAI MUNICIPALITY

GEOGRAPHY

Area 6,200 sq.km. China's largest and most wealthy city (after Hong Kong) and an industrial hub for the country with a large international seaport.

Population 14,773,000; 2,382 people/sq.km.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 99.6%, speaking Wu and Subei.

Other 0.4%.

RELIGION

Muslim 0.4%. Christian 9.6%: House churches 5.7%, all Catholics 2.8%,TSPM 1.1%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 In 1950 there was a varied and effective church life with 256 churches, but all was destroyed in the Cultural Revolution. Even today there are but 27 churches and 80 registered meeting points of the TSPM. A large network of small house churches has developed – some estimate between 3,000 and 20,000. In a crackdown in 1999, 1,000 were forcibly closed. Pray for freedom for congregations to grow and multiply.

2 The economic growth has been a magnet for up to 3 million poor, rural work-seekers from all over China who eagerly take up the dangerous and menial jobs on the margins of society. Pray for the evangelization of this uprooted mass of people.

3 For years Shanghai has been a base for Christian outreach to the whole country. One of the major house church networks is doing just that today. Pray that the drive, wealth and sophistication of this city might be harnessed for the spread of the gospel.

SHANXI PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 157,100 sq.km. Northeast China, west of Beijing. Not to be confused with neighbouring Shaanxi. [Shanxi = West of the Mountains; Shaanxi = West of the Mountain Passes].

Population 32,251,000; 205 people/sq.km.

Capital Taiyuan 2.76m. Other major cities: Datong 1.8m; Yangcheng 1.48m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 99.7%, speaking Putonghua and Jin.

Other 0.3%: Hui, Manchu.

RELIGION

Muslim 0.2%. Christian 3.4%: House churches 2.1%, TSPM 0.7%, all Catholics 0.6%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 The CIM did much work here before 1949. In 1950 there were 26,000 Protestants. This number had offically grown to 220,000 (unofficially nearly 900,000) by 1999. There are also many Catholics. There has been much repression of both registered TSPM and house churches.

2 The Boxer Rebellion of 1900 led to many martyrs – thousands of Chinese as well as 159 missionaries and 46 children in Shanxi alone. Pray that their blood may prove good seed for today's Church.

3 Datong has a low percentage of Christians and is, historically, a major Buddhist centre. Pray for the breaking down of spiritual strongholds.

SICHUAN PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 426,000 sq.km. A large rice-growing province on the Yangtze River ringed by high mountains. The 'panda province'.

Population 87,681,000; 205 people/sq.km.

Capital Chengdu 5.3m. Other major cities: Suining 1.7m; Neijiang 1.42m; Leshan 1.44m; Zigong 1.3m; Mianyang 1.22m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 95.4%, speaking Putonghua.

Sino-Tibetan 4.6%: 44 peoples, largest:

Tibetan E. Khampa 1.25m, Jiarong(5) 190,000; Rtahu Amdo 79,000, Ergong 49,000.

Yi Nosu(4) 1.83m; Suodi 190,000; Qiang(12) 183,000; Mosuo 30,000; Chrame 39,000; Bai Ma 15,000.

Hmong-Mien 0.8%. Miao(2) 667,000.

RELIGION

Lamaistic Buddhist 4%. Among Tibetans, Jiarong, Mosuo, Chrame. Animist, polytheist among Nosu, Bai Ma, Qiang, Miao. Christian 1.4%: House churches 0.7%, all Catholics 0.5%, TSPM 0.2%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 Sichuan had the lowest Christian percentage of the Han-majority provinces until recently. The Catholics arrived in 1696 and LMS and CIM in 1868/81, but there had been no major breakthrough until a recent significant growth in the house churches. Pray that the spiritual mountains that ring this province might be breached, and millions turn to Christ.

2 Chengdu with over 5m people is a key city for the whole of western China, but there are officially only two large TSPM churches and 3,000 Protestant Christians. There may be a further 50,000 house church believers. There is a large number of ethnic minority groups in the city – especially Tibetans. Pray for this needy city and those seeking to reach it.

3 Ethnic minorities indigenous to Sichuan total 4m in 44 peoples, but 33 of them have no Christians and no known outreach to them. Of the 11 among whom there are some Christians, only the Chuan Miao and Shengzha Nosu have over 1% Christians. Intercede for:

a) The major groups with no witness; the Qiang cluster of peoples, the Tibetan groups, Suodi, Mosuo, Enshi Miao, etc. Many of these peoples, though related, speak mutually unintelligible languages.

b) The Nosu who are a particular challenge. They are a proud people that once dominated their area and enslaved the Han Chinese. They were only finally subdued by the central government in 1953. They are known for their violence, war-making, intimidation and polytheism. The JESUS film has had some impact, and there are 12,000 Christians in the largest of the 4 Nosu peoples. Pray for this spiritual stronghold to be breached.

c) The small Christian groups among them to become strong, effective witnesses.

d) Ethnic minorities in Yunnan and elsewhere with large Christian communities to become missionaries to these peoples.

e) Bible translators. The Bible is available for the Khampa and Amdo Tibetans, and there are portions of Scripture for the Chuan Miao and Shengzha Nosu, but no other group has anything of God's Word.

TIANJIN MUNICIPALITY

GEOGRAPHY

Area 11,300 sq.km. The port city of Beijing.

Population 9,883,000; 875 people/sq.km.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 97.8%, speaking Putonghua.

Hui 1.8%.

Other 0.4%.

RELIGION

Muslim 1.8%. Christian 2.3%: All Catholics 1.7%, house churches 0.4%, TSPM 0.2%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 The Church is almost as tightly controlled as in nearby Beijing, and church growth has been more limited. Catholics have fared better. Pray for an easing of the harsh restrictions and for more church growth.

TIBET – XIZANG AUTONOMOUS REGION

GEOGRAPHY

Area 1,222,000 sq.km. High, barren Tibetan plateau north of the Himalaya Mountains, much of which is uninhabited and includes Mount Qomolangma (Everest); often called the 'Roof of the World'.

Population 2,500,000; 2 people/sq.km.

Capital Lhasa 310,000.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 20%. Large-scale immigration and a large military presence.

Sino-Tibetan 80%. 24 peoples, largest: Central (Lhasa) 741,000; Gtsang 596,000; Western Khampa 205,000; Monba(2) 41,000; Deng(2) 20,000; Lhoba 12,000.

RELIGION

Lama Buddhist 80%. Two factions: Yellow Hat and Red Hat. Interwoven with the pre-Buddhist Bon religion. Muslim 0.2%. Christian 0.2%, largely Catholic in southeastern corner of Tibet.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 Tibet is a contentious international issue. It lost its temporary independence as a theocratic Buddhist state in 1950 when China invaded the land. The Communists have systematically sought to destroy the culture, religions and ethnic identity of the Tibetan people. Resistance to the occupiers has resulted in frequent revolts and unrest. Over one million people may have lost their lives and a further 100,000 may have been forced into exile including the spiritual and political leader of Tibetans, the Dalai Lama. Pray for a just and peaceful settlement for all concerned.

2 Tibetan Buddhism has a strong hold on the people. There is much demonic bondage; the pre-Buddhist Bon religion with its spirit appeasement and occultism permeates society. Blood covenants were made with the powers of darkness in past centuries – these must be renounced. There are officially still 1,780 monasteries and 46,000 Buddhist monks. Pray that present sufferings may be God's means for bringing spiritual freedom to Tibetans.

3 After centuries of failed attempts and limited fruit there may be about 1,000 evangelical and 2,000 Catholic Christians among the 5m Tibetans in the world. There are two secret groups of Tibetan believers in Tibet. Pray for all efforts through radio, the JESUS film, personal witness in Tibet and from the surrounding provinces of Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan and elsewhere to reach them. Around 500,000 Tibetans live in exile in Nepal, India and the West, where they are a little more accessible.

4 Political sensitivity and tensions in Tibet make entry and travel difficult for both Chinese and foreign Christians who desire to share the love of Jesus there. Pray for open doors and freedom to proclaim the gospel.

5 There is a growing number of Han Chinese in Tibet. Pray for the planting of house fellowships among them – some have been started. Lhasa has become a Han Chinese city with only 30% of its inhabitants Tibetan, who are poor and marginalized.

XINJIANG UYGUR AUTONOMOUS REGION

GEOGRAPHY

Area 1,646,900 sq.km. Ringed with mountains surrounding the Taklamakan Desert in northwest China.

Population 17,582,000; 11 people/sq.km. Most living on desert oases or in the mountains.

Capital Urumqi 1,635,000.

PEOPLES

Turkic 60.7%. 14 peoples, largest: Uygur(7) 9.13m; Kazakh 1.15m; Kyrgyz 180,000; Uzbek 18,000.

Han Chinese 33.1%. Rapidly increasing through immigration; most living in the cities. Urumqi is 90% Han.

Hui 4.2%.

Mongolian-Tungus 1.7%. 4 peoples: Torgut 146,000; Western Xibe 42,000; Tuva 3,200.

Other 0.3%: Tajik(2) 44,000; Russian 18,000.

RELIGION

Muslim 65.1%. The Turkic peoples, Tajik, Salar and Hui. Lamaistic Buddhist 1.5%, Mongolians. Christian 2.2%: House churches 1.6%, all Catholics 0.4%; TSPM 0.2%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 Xinjiang's rich natural resources and strategic location make it important for China's future. Uygur separatism, fuelled by Islamist support from the Middle East and Central Asia, has increased over the 1990s and has been met with vigorous repression. Many lives have been lost, thousands executed and many imprisoned. Pray for a satisfactory resolution for both sides. The tension has hindered any religious activity.

2 Almost all the indigenous peoples are Muslim and unreached. There are a few isolated believers among the Uygur and Kazakh and they are under continual pressure to return to Islam. Most are unreached, with few seeking to minister to them.

3 There were once believers and some churches among the Uygur in the 1930s, but in violent persecution the churches were destroyed and believers killed or scattered. There are now only a few Uygur believers, but there are nearly 500 Uygur believers in Kazakhstan – may they witness to those in Xinjiang. Pray for the completion and distribution of the New Testament and also the dissemination of the JESUS film in Uygur. Pray also for churches to be planted among them once more.

4 The 360,000 Christians in Xinjiang, almost all Han Chinese, are culturally isolated from the indigenous population. Pray that they may have a vision for and understanding of witnessing to Muslims. Most live in the capital, Urumqi. There are only about 50-60 known Christians among the non-Chinese; their numbers are growing, but they are subjected to heavy pressure by Muslims to return to Islam.

YUNNAN PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 436,200 sq.km. In China's mountainous southwest.

Population 42,030,000; 96 people/sq.km.

Capital Kunming 1.9m. Other major city: Qujing 1.1m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 68%.

Sino-Tibetan 20.6%. 11.6m in 154 peoples. Main groups: Yi (104 in official nationality, but not necessarily closely related), largest: Nisu(4) 1.5m; Nasu(4) 752,000; Laluo(2) 610,000; Luoluopo(3) 584,000; Nosu(2) 506,000; East and West Lipo 237,000; Poluo 233,000; Sani 130,000; Lami 100,000. Hani(11), largest: Hani 615,000; Akha 195,000; Baihong 195,000; Haoni 123,000; Kado 123,000; Woni 110,000. Other (39), largest: Lisu(3) 720,000; Lahu 544,000; Naxi 290,000; Tibetan(2) 250,000.

Tai 7%. 2.5m in 23 peoples; largest: Tai/Dai(9) 1.5m; Giay 274,000; Gelao 50,000.

Hmong-Mien 2%. 1.1m in 8 peoples: Miao (Hmong, 4) 577,000; Yao(3) 520,000.

Hui 1.4%.

Mon-Khmer 1%. 565,000 in 22 peoples, largest: Wa 300,000; Bulang 80,000; Kawa 73,000; Lawa 55,000.

RELIGION

Buddhist, animist, polytheist and ancestor worship. Muslim 1.5%. Christian 5.3%: House churches 3.2%, TSPM 2%, all Catholics 0.1%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 Yunnan is, ethnically, China's most complex province. There have been famous and dramatic workings of the Holy Spirit among some of the tribal groups earlier last century – especially among the Lisu, Miao, Wa, Jingpo and Nu. There are over 1m Christians in these minorities – 60-70% of all the Christians in Yunnan. So the Church is thriving in a few ethnic groups, but the mountainous terrain, large number of cultures and languages, and ancient hostilities all hinder the spread of the gospel. Pray that many more areas may experience like demonstrations of God's grace and power.

2 Yunnan's indigenous ethnic minorities, numbering 16m in 208 ethno-linguistic peoples, are an immense challenge for the Church in China and the world.

a) 205 peoples have no witness and no Christians, and a further 47 have less than 1% Christians. Many are polytheists or Buddhists.

b) Only 23 peoples have responded in a significant way and are now over 10% Christian. Just 6 are majority Christian: Hkauri (31 people), Eastern Lipo (60,000 – 67% Christian), Maru (7,600 – 79%), Ayi (2,200), Rawang (540), Xiandao (130 people). The largest Christian communities are among the: Lisu (300,000); Miao (150,000); E. Nasu (120,000); Wa (75,000), Bai (50,000); Jingpo (40,000); Naluo (10,000); Lawa (10,000); Lashi (6,000); Nu (4,000). Pray for local believers to reach out to related ethnic groups still unreached, and pray also for missionaries from China and elsewhere to reach these unreached of Yunnan. The poverty of local believers and difficulties in travel slow any attempts.

3 The Han Chinese Christians are relatively few in number and there has not been much growth in either TSPM, house churches or the Catholics. Pray for the growth of the Church among them.

4 Special issues needing prayer:

a) Bible translation is a massive unmet need. The Bible is available for 9 languages, the NT in a further 11, and just portions in yet another 11. Translators are working in only 5 groups. The great majority of languages have nothing. Good surveys are necessary to ascertain what needs to be done. Pray for this vital ministry to be expanded in Yunnan.

b) AIDS is becoming a problem to a number of border peoples because of drug abuse and trafficking and exposure to the sex industry in Thailand and Myanmar.

c) FEBC broadcasts in Lahu, De'ang, Miao, Jingpo, Lisu, Maru, Wa and Tai. Pray for the evangelistic and teaching ministry of this medium.

ZHEJIANG PROVINCE

GEOGRAPHY

Area 101,800 sq.km. Prosperous coastal province south of Shanghai.

Population 45,152,000; 443 people/sq.km.

Capital Hangzhou 6.39m. Other major city: Ningbo 1.2m.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 99.6%, speaking Wu and Putonghua.

Hui 0.4%.

RELIGION

Secularism and traditional Chinese religions. Muslim 0.3%. Christian 11.2%: House churches 7.7%, TSPM 3%, all Catholics 0.5%.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

1 Wenzhou is sometimes called the Jerusalem of China. Over 30% of its population is Christian. In many rural areas there is a prominent church building in full use every kilometre. There are over 2,400 churches and 3,500 registered meeting points as well as thousands of house churches. Many of their church buildings were destroyed in 2000 in a strong effort to eliminate unregistered Christians.

2 Zhejiang house churches have done much to evangelize other parts of China through evangelizing migrant labourers and following contacts to their home areas. Believers are generous in supporting these mission efforts. Pray for this vision to grow.

3 Since 1997 pressure on house churches has grown and some buildings destroyed by the authorities. Pray for the assaults of those opposed to the gospel to fail and for the perpetrators to be converted.

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