Introduction / History Although the Qinghai Kazakhs are part of the official Kazakh nationality in China, they now consider themselves to be a distinct people group. Their language has also become different from other Kazakhs in Xinjiang. The Qinghai Kazakhs have a common affinity and kinship for each other because of the horrendous events of their history.
In 1936 a group of 10,000 Kazakhs left northern Xinjiang and migrated south to Qinghai. "Beset there by Mongol nomads, the Kazakhs moved further south in 1939, only to be caught and massacred by a local warlord. Of 10,000 Kazakhs, they say all but 700 perished. Today they have recovered to become a commune of about 2,000 semi-nomads, who raise sheep, horses, cattle and camels and live in houses near Golmud in winter."
The Kazakhs have long desired to have their own independent state. In the 1940s a man named Osman led his fellow Kazakhs in a rebellion. This rebellion gave them control of a large area of southwest Xinjiang. Several years later in 1951, Osman was captured and executed. In 1953, the communists slaughtered 12,600 of the 15,000 Kazakhs who attempted to flee China.
What are their lives like? The Qinghai Kazakhs are nomads who migrate seasonally in search of new pastures. Their yurts are designed to be quickly assembled and easily transported. Their livestock includes sheep, goats, and some cattle. One of their favorite drinks is called kumyss, a wine made from fermented mare's or horse's milk. When a young Kazak couple marries, the "bride price" is often paid in horses.
What are their beliefs? Although they claim to be Muslims, the Qinghai Kazakhs are essentially animists. They also engage in ancestor worship. They are surrounded by Tibetan Buddhists on every side but have stubbornly refused to embrace their religion. The Qinghai Kazakhs still admit to being Muslims; but without the Koran, teachers, or a mosque to worship in, their devotion has gradually eroded.
Famous Scottish missionary George Hunter translated the first Scriptures for the Kazakh in China. Books of the Bible were printed by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1922. Today the Kazaks of Qinghai are a completely untouched group and have no knowledge whatsoever of Christ or the gospel.
What are their needs? Without the guidance of Christ, these people will be lost in this life and the life to come. They need someone to go to them as Christ-bearers.
Prayer Points Pray for the spiritual blindness and bondage to the evil one to be removed so they can understand and respond to Christ.
Pray for the Lord to provide for their physical and spiritual needs as a testimony of his power and love.
Pray that the Qinghai Kazakh people will have a spiritual hunger that will open their hearts to the King of kings.
Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among them.
Approximately 2,900 members of an isolated Kazak people group live in the northwest section of Qinghai Province. Being seminomadic, they inhabit a wide stretch of land in the Haixi Autonomous Prefecture which is jointly administered by the Mongols, Tibetans, and Kazaks. They are the only group of Kazaks found in Qinghai (Blue Sea) Province. (Source: Operation China, 2000)