Prayer Profile
The Hainanese of China

[IMAGE] The Han Chinese are the largest ethnic group in the world, numbering over one billion. About five million Hainanese-Han inhabit the island of Hainan, making up over 80% of its total population. They speak a Chinese dialect called Wanning.

The island of Hainan is located in the South China Sea off the southern coast of mainland China. It is the second largest island (after Taiwan) off China’s coast. The island was long considered a disease infested outpost of China. Although it was considered economically backward, it had great potential for growth.

Beginning in the late 1980’s, the island was flooded with Hainanese-Han immigrants from the mainland, joining those Hainanese-Han who had occupied the island for over 1,000 years. Since the 1980’s, the economy of Hainan has grown at an astounding rate, as the Communist government of China has allowed the people to follow capitalist business practices.

What Are Their Lives Like?
The island of Hainan is partially covered by two mountain ranges; the remainder of the land is low-lying plains. The hot, tropical weather provides heavy rain year round, allowing crops to be grown continuously. Many of the Hainanese-Han are farmers. Their principal crops include rice, sugar, coffee, tea, and rubber. Other industries involve fishing and mining for salt, iron, gold, and other minerals. Quite a few Hainanese-Han are small business owners.

Although the Hainanese-Han of Hainan have great economic freedom, their personal lives continue to be regulated by China’s Communist government. Because the Hainanese-Han are only allowed to have one child, there is a very high abortion rate.

Traditionally, Hainanese-Han marriages were arranged. Sometimes a very young girl would be given to another family, raised as their daughter, and married to one of the family’s sons. At other times, parents would match a young man with a young woman, then exchange a dowry and a bride price. Ideally, a husband and wife met each other for the first time at the wedding. Regardless of the type of marriage arrangement, the Hainanese-Han practiced strict exogamy, which means that they married outside their own families, even refusing to marry someone with the same surname. Under Communist rule, such customs as marriages between minors, arranged marriages, dowries, and the bride price have been banned.

What Are Their Beliefs?
Most of the Hainanese-Han of Hainan follow ancient Chinese folk religions. Some are Buddhist, and a few are non-religious. A Chinese folk religion is characterized by a blending of religions. It has added Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist elements over the course of time and is centered around the concept of maintaining harmony. The Hainanese-Han are very superstitious, consulting horoscopes in an attempt to determine what course of action will promote harmony and bring good luck. The Hainanese-Han also believe in a pantheon of spirits who inhabit the earth. They believe that the spirits of their ancestors roam the earth, and if treated properly, 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 malicious and erratic. They believe that gods are the souls of people who lived especially virtuous lives. These gods are believed to have spiritual powers that can be used to benefit those who worship them.

What Are Their Needs?
The Hainanese-Han of Hainan have experienced a level of prosperity unknown in most parts of China. Though a number of people living in Hainan have become very wealthy, many people are very poor. In addition, the growth of the economy has slowed in the last few years, causing difficulties on the island.

Though persecution in Hainan is less severe than in other parts of China, the people continue to be unreached. Less than 1% of their total population has converted to Christianity. The Bible is not yet available in the Hainanese-Han dialect, but the Jesus film and audio recordings are available.

Prayer Points
  • Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into China to work among the Hainanese-Han.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to the three missions agencies that are targeting the Hainanese-Han.
  • Ask God to anoint the Gospel as it goes forth via radio in their area.
  • Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Hainanese-Han through dreams and visions.
  • Pray that God will give the Hainanese-Han believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
  • Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Hainanese-Han bound.
  • Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
  • Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Hainanese-Han church for the glory of His name!

See also the following Groups:
The Diaspora Han Chinese; The Hakka of China; The Hunanese of China; and
the Han Chinese (Nung) of China.

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Hainanese (Han Chinese)
  • Country: China
  • Their language: wanning
  • Population: (1990) 5,107,700
    (1995) 7,399,600
    (2000) 5,679,900
  • Largest religion: Chinese folk-religionist 85%
    Buddhist (Mahayana) 10%
    Nonreligious 4.9%
  • Christians: <1%
  • Church members: 5,400
  • Scriptures in their own language: Portions
  • Jesus Film in their own language: Available
  • Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
  • Mission agencies working among this people: 3
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 2,057,200 (39%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 275,400 (6%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 1,781,800 (33%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 3,342,400 (61%)
  • Country: China
  • Population: (1990) 1,135,043,400
    (1995) 1,199,901,200
    (2000) 1,262,195,800
  • Major peoples in size order: Han Chinese (Mandarin) 67.7%
    Han Chinese (Wu) 7.5%
    Han Chinese (Cantonese) 4.5%
  • Major religions: Nonreligious 55%
    Chinese folk-religionist 17%
    Atheist 12.7%
  • Number of denominations: 42

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Bethany World Prayer Center

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