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Bai in China


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Bai in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
430,000 Bai, Southern Buddhism 2.80 % 2.80 % Not available   

Bai in China

People Group Video [7]
Source:  Asia HarvestWatchDownload
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Introduction / History
The Bai (also known as the Minchia or Pai), are among the oldest dwellers of the Yunnan Province, which is located in south central China. Most of the Bai have never once heard the name of Jesus.

The Bai are primarily rice farmers living in a region from the upper Yangtze River down to the foot of Lake Erh Hai. They make their homes high in the mountains where they are surrounded by beautiful alpine lakes and emerald green valleys. This area is a favorite retreat spot for government officials because of its temperate climate, beauty, and solitude.

The name "Bai" means "white" in Chinese, and was first used to refer to those living near the southwestern border region. The Baimen, or "white men," were called this because of the white sheepskins they wore. They refer to themselves as the "Bozi," "Baihu," or "Baizi."

What are their lives like?
The Bai are a family-oriented people and are related to the Chinese Yi. Their families are small, and most members of the group are farmers, fishermen, and hunters. Their diet consists mainly of rice, vegetables, fruit, fish, and grains. Bai villages are usually located on the poorer land near lakes or on lower mountain slopes. This frees as much land as possible for rice cultivation. Their small homes are usually built without the conveniences of indoor plumbing.

To the Bai, the village is the most important social unit outside of the extended family. Marriages are usually monogamous (one husband, one wife), and, unlike many other Chinese tribes, the Bai value girls as much as boys. Traditionally, men and women did the same type of work in the fields, except that the heavier plowing was left for the men. Still, Bai women are known for their strength and ability to carry heavy loads over great distances.

China's economy has undergone many changes since the late 1970s. For example, free markets for food items and homemade goods have been reopened. Consequently, the standard of living in inner China has greatly improved. However, since most Chinese minority groups (including the Bai) live in remote areas, improvements in their lifestyles have been few.

What are their beliefs?
There is very little difference between the Bai's form of religion and traditional Chinese customs. Their religious practices embrace ideas from Buddhism, Taoism, and ancestral worship (praying to deceased ancestors for help and guidance).

Formerly, the Bai held special ceremonies in which they honored their family ancestors. Whether or not they still hold such rituals is not known.

The Bai generally hold the Buddhists' views of life after death. Buddhism teaches that right thinking, ritual sacrifices, and self-denial will enable the soul to reach Nirvana (a state of eternal bliss) at death. They live in fear of their gods and constantly strive to appease them with religious chants, rituals, and sacrifices. When a person is sick, a Buddhist priest is often called; however, spiritual matters are usually handled by the head of the family.

What are their needs?
For more than 1,000 years the Bai were free from Chinese rule; however, in the 13th century their freedom was cut short. At that time, Chinese imperial troops murdered the Bai nobility and annexed their territory to China. After the 1949 revolution, prejudices against ethnic minorities increased, and the Han (ethnic Chinese) tried to stamp out the Bai. Since the 1960s, their traditions, language, and culture have steadily eroded.

Currently the Bai are being absorbed into the communist Chinese world - a world without God. No Bai pastors or churches exist. Their language, Pai, is unwritten. Although many underground home churches do exist in China, there is no way to train the pastors and teachers.

Prayer Points
* Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to share Christ with the Bai.
* Pray that the doors of China will soon be opened to missionaries.
* Ask God to give missions agencies creative ways to train Bai Christians as pastors and teachers.
* Pray for the underground home churches in China.
* Ask God to strengthen and encourage the small number of believers who live among the Bai.
* Pray that the Holy Spirit will heal the wounds that prejudice has inflicted on the Bai.
* Pray for God to raise a strong local church among the Bai.
* Pray for translation of the Bible to begin in this people group's primary language.

View Bai in all countries.

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-07-10
Prayer Links
The Bai
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Country: China
Continent: Asia
Region: Northeast Asia
Persecution Rank:39 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:More than 1.5 million Bai were counted in the 1990 Chinese census. Yunnan was devastated by the plague, which began in Dali and lasted from 1812 to 1903. The population of Yunnan was reduced from eight million to three million, and the population of the Bai was severely cut. The Bai live primarily in the Dali Prefecture in central Yunnan. Dali has been continuously inhabited for 3,000 years. More than 120,000 Bai are located in Guizhou Province. Smaller numbers of Bai also live in Sichuan and Hunan provinces.
(Source: Operation China, 2000)
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Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Bai
People Name General: Bai
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 100776
Joshua Project People ID: 10573
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 430,000
Population all Countries: 430,000
Least-Reached: No
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General: Bai
Ethnic Code: MSY50z
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Bai, Southern (430,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): bfs    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Sub-division:Mahayana
Major Religions:
Buddhism70.00 % 
Christianity2.80 %(Evangelical: 2.80 %)
Ethnic Religions10.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious17.20 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent100.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Evangelicals have a modest presence.
Least-Reached: No
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Bai, Southern
Ministry Activity
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Networking: Visit for networking possibilities.
Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Bai in China

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Tibeto-Burman, other     Northeast Asia    
      Bai China    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Bai in China          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Bai, Southern  
    All Religions                              

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