Introduction / History
The Han Chinese are the largest ethnic group in the world, numbering more than 1.3 billion. Although the vast majority live in mainland China, many have immigrated to other countries, and today they reside in nearly every nation of the world. In a number of these countries, including Laos, Nepal, Tanzania, Cambodia, and Thailand. Most Han Chinese speak one of the many Chinese dialects, which include Mandarin, Cantonese, and Hokkien. 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. The Chinese are noted for moving to other parts of the world for commercial reasons. That is why they are beginning to come to the UAE—for business reasons. Almost all of the Chinese in the UAE live in Dubai.
What are their lives like?
The Chinese are relatively new to the UAE. The Chinese in the UAE are often shop owners, but others are film makers, agricultural chemists, railroad builders, and others. They tend to come to the Dubai for the opportunities. Most likely the number of Chinese in the UAE will grow in the years to come.
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?
In many countries the Diaspora Chinese are mistreated, but not in the UAE where there is a freewheeling attitude towards business. The Han Chinese suffer from great spiritual needs. Several evangelistic tools are available in their Chinese dialects, but it is hard for them to see their spiritual needs in a Muslim country where they have few if any Christian contacts. These precious people need loving Christians to introduce them to the One who can truly set them free. Though the Chinese are unreached in the UAE, there are millions of Chinese believers who can take Christ to them.
Pray that Han Chinese believers will begin to share the love of Jesus with the Chinse in the UAE. Pray that Christian broadcasts, evangelical literature, and the JESUS Film will be effective tools for reaching the Diaspora Han Chinese. Ask God to use Christian businessmen to boldly share the Good News with the Han Chinese. Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Diaspora Han Chinese.
Text source: Joshua Project