The Khalka Mongol of China
The Khalka are the core of all Mongols in northern Asia. Although they make up the largest group of Mongols in Mongolia, they constitute only a small minority in China. Together with other Mongol groups, the Khalka are recognized as one of China's 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities.
The Khalka Mongol regard themselves the direct descendants of Genghis Khan and, therefore, the true preservers of Mongol culture. They also consider their language, Halh, to be the "real" Mongolian language, since all other Mongols speak dialects of Halh.
In the thirteenth century, Genghis Khan formed one of the greatest empires in world history by uniting the nomadic Mongol tribes. In the centuries that followed, the Mongol empire was squeezed between the growing Russian and Chinese empires. The Halh-speaking Khalka and other Mongols occupied a region that later became one of China's Autonomous Regions.
What Are Their Lives Like?
During the Cultural Revolution, the Mongols in China suffered at the hands of Maoist reformers. Those accused of being part of a separatist movement were tortured and killed. The Buddhist monasteries were vandalized and most of the Buddhist priests disappeared during that time. The Mongols carried out their traditional ceremonies in secret. Any display of Mongol culture could have been used by the Maoists as evidence of Mongol separatism. To wear traditional Mongol robes, rather that the conformist "Mao suits," was dangerous, and public meetings in the Mongolian language could not be held. This situation did not change until the early 1970's, when the Mongols were officially recognized as one of China's ethnic minorities.
Although some of the Khalka Mongols have become city-dwellers and live in Soviet-style apartments, most of them are farmers living in rural areas. Their principal crops include barley, wheat, oats, corn, millet, and potatoes. A number of the Khalka Mongol have continued to live as semi-nomads, migrating seasonally with their sheep, horses, cattle, and camels. They live in portable gers or yurts, which are round felt tents over lattice frames.
The Khalka Mongol diet consists primarily of fat, meat, milk, and dairy products. Large amounts of fat and mutton are eaten during the winter, and dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and sour cream are eaten during the summer. Their favorite drink is kumiss, which is fermented mare's milk.
The Khalka Mongol traditionally married while they were very young. The girls were usually 13 or 14, and the boys were only a few years older. Today, couples usually marry while they are in their twenties or older. Sadly, the divorce rate is increasing among the Khalka Mongol, and legal abortion is one of the primary methods of birth control.
The Khalka Mongol enjoy sporting events such as horse races, archery, and wrestling. They also love music and folk dances.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Khalka Mongol were traditionally shamanists (believed in an unseen world of gods, demons, and spirits). The people depended on shamans (medicine men) to cure the sick by magic, communicate with the gods, and control events.
In the late 1500's, the Mongols were introduced to Tibetan Buddhism, and most Mongols converted to Buddhism at that time. During the Cultural Revolution, however, many of the Buddhist temples were destroyed. As a result of the Communist rule and Marxist teachings, about half of the Khalka Mongol became either atheists or non-religious. A number of them have also returned to the beliefs of their forefathers. Obos, heaps of stones thought to be inhabited by local spirits, are still used as sites for performing rituals.
What Are Their Needs?
Inadequate medical facilities, limited water supply, and improper diet are all problems among the Khalka Mongol. China is currently closed to Christian missionaries. Prayer alone has the power to break down the walls that separate the Khalka Mongol from the Light of the Gospel.
- Pray that the doors of China will soon open to Christian missionaries.
- Ask the Lord of the harvest to raise up loving Chinese Christians who will share the Good News with the Khalka Mongol.
- Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Khalka Mongol through dreams and visions.
- Pray that God will strengthen, encourage, and protect the few known Khalka Mongol Christians.
- Pray that these believers will have opportunities to share the love of Jesus with their own people.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that have kept the Khalka Mongol bound for many generations.
- Ask God to raise up teams of intercessors who will faithfully stand in the gap for the Khalka Mongol.
- Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Khalka Mongol of China by the year 2000.
See also the following Mongol Groups:
The Chinese Mongolian of China;
The Dariganga of Mongolia; and
The Khalkha Mongol of Mongolia.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Khalka Mongol
- Country: China
- Their language: halh
- Largest religion:
- Christians: <1%
- Church members: 19
- Scriptures in their own language: New Testament
- Jesus Film in their own language: Available
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: Available
- Mission agencies working among this people: 3
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 15,900 (34%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 32,100 (66%)
- Country: Mongolia
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 42
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
This profile may be copied and distributed without obtaining permission
as long as it is not altered, bound, published
or used for profit purposes.