Identity The Min Zhong are part of the Min group of Chinese languages, all of which are considered part of China's Han nationality.
History The Tang Dynasty (618-907): The Tang Dynasty is considered the most auspicious and glittering period in history by the Chinese. China was again united, and a strong military extended China's borders to its largest extent: encompassing parts of present-day Central Asia, Russia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and northern India. For the first time China was divided into 300 prefectures and 1,500 counties, which mirror the present boundaries remarkably closely. Following the collapse of the Tang Dynasty in 907, China again entered into a period of discord and war.
Customs The Grand Canal, constructed over a period of 1,000 years, linked four of China's major rivers: the Yangtze, Yellow, Huai, and Qiantang. Between Beijing and Hangzhou the canal measured 1,800 kilometers (1,110 mi.). It opened up China's trade and caused the inland provinces to flourish.
Religion Recently there has been speculation claiming the wise men who visited Bethlehem may have come from China. The Chinese were using the compass 1,000 years before the birth of Christ. Maps have been found from that time which show a clear passage from China to the Mediterranean Sea. Ancient Chinese astrologers discovered a star they called the "King Star." "They believed whenever this star appeared, a king was born. Chinese history says it was at its most brilliant peak during the Han Dynasty [time of Christ]." One of the main astrologers during this period was Liu Shang, who disappeared from China for over two years at the time of Christ's birth.
Christianity An eighth century Chinese Nestorian church leader claimed the Magi, returning from Bethlehem, had brought the first news of the Savior to China. By the thirteenth century, Christians numbered in the hundreds of thousands throughout China and Mongolia. In 1330 the Nestorians were described as having "very handsome and devoutly ordered churches with crosses and images in honour of God and the saints. They hold sundry offices under the Emperor and have great privileges from him."
The Min Zhong (or Central Min) numbered 683,000 speakers in 1987, making them one of the smallest of the Chinese language groups in the country. Min Zhong is spoken in the central part of Fujian Province, especially around the towns of Yong'an, Sanming, and Shaxian. (Source: Operation China, 2000)