People-in-Country Profile

People Selector:
Print version:
Step 1 - Select a Country:   Send us your updates!
Step 2 - Select a People:  

Salar in China


Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Salar in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
151,000 Salar Islam 0.01 % 0.01 % No No   

Salar in China

Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

Although the Salar hold the distinction of being one of China's official nationalities, they are very similar to the Uygurs of Xinjiang. Their language is virtually the same as Uygur. One expert lists Salar as a Uygur dialect, and notes that "The main difference between the Salar and the Uygurs of Xinjiang is geographical."

The majority of the Salar can speak their language, which is part of the Turkic family. Because the Salar live at the crossroads of several great civilizations, many are bilingual or multilingual in Chinese, Uygur, and Amdo Tibetan. A 1960 study found 7% of the Salar vocabulary was Persian-Arabic, in addition to a few Mongolian and Tibetan loanwords.

The Salar have a colorful tale of their history. They say they originated in the famous city of Sarmarkand, located in today's Uzbekistan. In the eleventh century a tribe known as the Salor fled persecution in their homeland. They were forced to migrate across the mountains of Central Asia. Not knowing where they were going, the Salar strapped a Qur'an to a camel's head and asked Allah to guide them to wherever he wanted them to settle. After many months of travel, a Salar Imam had a vivid dream of a beautiful waterfall. The next day the travelers came to the same waterfall. The camel stopped to drink and turned into a large white stone. Taking it as a divine sign, the tribe stopped there and began to build a community. In 1781 the Qing armies crushed a Salar uprising. The Salar suffered massive losses. As many as 40% of their entire population were obliterated in the battle.

Divorce is a simple procedure for the Salar. The husband merely announces, "I don't want you any longer," and the woman leaves the home. She is free to marry again.

The Salar were reportedly converted to Islam as recently as 1750 by Muhammed Amin. By the early 1980s, the Salar worshiped in 73 mosques throughout Xunhua County. Many more mosques have been opened in recent years. Although they have lived beside Tibetans for centuries, the Salar have resisted all pressure to convert to Tibetan Buddhism.

Before 1949 few missionaries reached out to the Salar. In the 1920s an appeal was made for "workers to give their whole time to the Salar." Ralph Covell laments, "Missionaries talked about the Salar but the rigors of a harsh climate, and a demanding geographical environment [meant] only a few were prepared for the necessary long-term commitment and sacrifices." No church has ever been established among the Salar, although today there are a small number of Salar attending a Han Chinese church in Xining City.

View Salar in all countries.

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-07-27
  Submit Update:
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:Approximately 113,000 Salar live in north central China. More than 70% are located in Xunhua County in southeast Qinghai Province. Other Salar live in towns spread 50 kilometers (31 mi.) east to west and 40 kilometers (25 mi.) north to south. Additional communities are located in neighboring Gansu Province, while 1,447 Salar live in Yining County of Xinjiang - a vast distance from the main body of Salar. Most Salar live in poor, mudbaked shacks.
(Source: Operation China, 2000)
Submit Map:
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
Submit Update:
People Name in Country: Salar
People Name General: Salar
Alternate People Names:
SalaTurki Huihui
Turki Hwei Hwei
ROP3 Code: 108543
Joshua Project People ID: 14658
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 151,000
Population all Countries: 151,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: East Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Hui, Dungan
People Name General: Salar
Ethnic Code: MSY41z
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Salar (151,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): slr    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.01 %(Evangelical: 0.01 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam99.99 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
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 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
Submit Update:
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)
Ministry Activity
Register Ministry Activity:
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

Salar in China

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Hui, Dungan     Asia, Northeast    
      Salar China    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Salar in China          
      Religion Language  
      Islam     Salar  
    All Religions                              

Direct link: