Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions (42.60%)
Christian/Evangelical: 0.40% / 0.30%
Other Religions: 34% Non-Religious, 20% Buddhist
Persecution Rank: 21
Language: Chinese, Xiang
The Xiang are traditionally acknowledged as the most stubborn and proud of all Chinese peoples. “The people themselves are the most clannish and conservative to be found in the whole empire, and have succeeded in keeping their province (Hunan) practically free from invasion by foreigners and even foreign ideas.”
In 1911 the Xiang were described as “the best haters and best fighters in China. Long after the rest of the empire was open to missionary activity, Hunan kept its gates firmly closed against the foreigner.”
Recently there has been an upsurge in religious interest in Hunan, as people seek to fill the spiritual void in their hearts. “A monastery in Hunan has witnessed tens of thousands of pilgrims arriving to worship the three ‘gods’ of Communist China - Chairman Mao, Zhou Enlai and Zhu De. This pilgrimage has set alarm bells ringing in the local government over the revival of superstition.”
In 1861 Welsh missionary Griffith John met a Hunan military mandarin, who “boasted of the glory and martial courage of the Hunan men, and said there was no danger of their ever believing in Jesus or of His religion taking root there.” The pride of the Xiang has made them the most unreached of all Han Chinese peoples. Today only 80,000 of the Xiang are Christians. The entire Christian population of Hunan is numbered at no more than 120,000. Because of internal strife, the Hunan church has been described as a “disaster area.”
- Pray that the Lord would use the recent interest in religion to mercifully point Han Chinese of Hunan (that is, the Xiang) to Himself.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to soften their hearts, show them the error of their ways, humble them before the Father, and receive the good news of Jesus through faith in Him.
- Pray that the small number of Xiang believers living in Hunan, China will begin to share the love of Jesus with their own people.
- Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Xiang.
- Pray that the Lord will send laborers into the harvest in Hunan, China.