Introduction / History The Han Chinese are the largest ethnic group in the world, numbering about 1.3 billion. Although the vast majority of them live in mainland China, many have immigrated to other countries, and today they reside in nearly every nation of the world including Tunisia.
Most Han Chinese speak one of the many Chinese dialects. Although the dialects are very similar, the speakers of one Chinese dialect cannot understand the speakers of another.
The Han Chinese began fleeing to other countries in 1276 after the Mongol invasion. Many other upheavals and conflicts followed, and the Chinese continued to settle in other nations. Wherever they went, the Chinese settled almost exclusively in urban areas and became involved in business and commerce. Today, they are very influential in the economies of many of these nations, though they represent only a small percentage of the population.
Where are they located? In Tunisia, the Chinese are most likely to live in cities like Tunis. There are few Chinese in Tunisia, so they may not be on the local people's radar screen.
What are their lives like? The Diaspora Han Chinese continue to live primarily in cities. In a number of countries, many of them are businessmen. Their businesses range from small shops to international corporations. There are a handful of Chinese restaurants in Tunisia. Most likely Tunisia will soon follow Algeria's lead in having contracts with Chinese corporations for road building. That will mean more Chinese businessmen (and construction workers) who will be on the radar screens of Tunisians.
Many of the Han Chinese who live outside of China have maintained their culture and language to varying degrees, depending on the country in which they live. The Han Chinese continue to speak their various Chinese dialects. In most countries, the Diaspora Han Chinese have also continued living by their traditional Chinese customs, especially those regarding marriage and the family. One of the primary reasons they have kept their own languages and customs is because they have a deeply ingrained belief in the superiority of their culture.
What are their beliefs? The Diaspora Han Chinese have generally maintained their traditional Chinese religion, which is characterized by a blending of philosophies. It has added elements of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism over the course of time. Their beliefs are centered around the concept of maintaining harmony.
The Han Chinese consult horoscopes in an attempt to determine what course of action will promote harmony and bring good luck. They also believe in a pantheon of spirits who inhabit the earth. The spirits of their ancestors supposedly roam the earth, and if treated properly, are benign and bring good luck. Ghosts are believed to exist as the spirits of people who are angry at the circumstances of their death; these spirits are said to be malicious and capricious. Deities are supposedly the souls of people who lived especially virtuous lives. They are believed to have spiritual powers that can be used to benefit those who worship them. Although the Han Chinese still claim adherence to these beliefs, they seem to have little effect on their everyday lives. In fact, many of them are non-religious in practice.
What are their needs? The few Chinese people in Tunisia need the chance to develop their spiritual lives, based on the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Prayer Points * Pray that Chinese believers will make the effort to take the gospel to the Chinese and the Arabs in Tunisia.
* Pray for a disciple-making movement to flourish among the Chinese people in Tunisia.