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Li, Bendi in China

Li, Bendi

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Li, Bendi in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
81,000 Hlai Ethnic Religions 0.10 % 0.03 % No   

Li, Bendi in China

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Although the various Li groups on Hainan Island acknowledge a common historical kinship, "they are divided into several groups, distinguishable by their different dialects [and costumes]." The name Li means "black" or "dark brown"; it can also mean "numerous."

The ancestors of the Li are believed to have migrated to Hainan Island from the Mainland approximately 3,000 years ago. The state of Li is mentioned at the beginning of the tenth book of the Chinese Book of History. The state was conquered by the Chief of the West in AD 1123. Historically the Chinese have viewed Hainan as a backward, undesirable place. When Li Deyu - a Chinese prime minister during the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) - was exiled to Hainan, he described his new home as "the gate to hell."

Until recently the Bendi Li relied on hunting and fishing for their survival. One visitor to Hainan Island noted, "The natives do not use fish hooks, but dam the numerous interior rivers and pour in root poison which stupefies the fish, making them easy to spear."

The Bendi Li are mostly polytheists and animists, worshiping a multiplicity of gods and spirits. Before the antireligion purges of the Cultural Revolution, most Li villages had their own shaman who acted as a medium between the community and the spirit world.

There is no known Christian presence among the Bendi Li. Of the more than one million Li on Hainan Island, only 1,000 believe in Jesus Christ. The majority have never heard the gospel before. Historically, most evangelism conducted on Hainan Island has been aimed at the Hainanese Chinese.

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Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2015-07-27
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Country: China
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Northeast
Persecution Rank:23 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:A 1987 linguistic survey listed 44,000 speakers of the Bendi Li language. The Bendi language further divides into the Baisha dialect (36,000 speakers) and the Yuanmen dialect (8,000 speakers). The Bendi Li are one of five distinct Li tribes located on southern China's tropical Hainan Island. The Bendi inhabit the central part of the island, including the eastern half of Baisha County and northward to Yinggeling.
(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: Li, Bendi
People Name General: Li, Bendi
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 114166
Joshua Project People ID: 18549
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 81,000
Population all Countries: 81,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Li
People Name General: Li, Bendi
Ethnic Code: MSY49z
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Hlai (81,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): lic    Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect:Bendi
Dialect Code:10650
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.10 %(Evangelical: 0.03 %)
Ethnic Religions96.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious3.90 % 
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]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 2   Less than 2% Evangelical. Initial (localized) church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 2015
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Hlai
Film / VideoStory of Hope
Ministry Activity
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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

Li, Bendi in China

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Li     Asia, Northeast    
      Li, Bendi China    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Li, Bendi in China          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Hlai  
    All Religions                              

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