Prayer Profile
The Ten of China

[IMAGE] The Ten are a sub-group of the Bouyei, one of China's 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities. Living in southern and southwestern Guizhou province in south-central China, the Ten speak a language called T'en. Although most of the population continue to speak their native language, many now speak Chinese or Bouyei as a second language. The Ten are closely related to the nearby Zhuang minority of Yunnan province.

During the Middle Ages, the Ten adopted a feudal economic system from the Han Chinese, in which a few wealthy landowners controlled nearly all the land. The landowners often mistreated their tenants, and the Ten commoners sometimes reacted violently against their oppressors.

In 1949, Communist rebels overthrew the Chinese government. Since that time, the lives of the Ten have improved somewhat, although they continue to live as poor farmers.

What are their lives like?
The Ten of China live in a region that is crisscrossed by many mountain ranges, valleys, and rivers. The area has an almost tropical climate, with warm weather and a high amount of rainfall. Most of the Ten are farmers who cultivate a variety of crops in the fertile soil. For personal consumption, they grow crops such as rice, wheat, corn, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, potatoes, and beans. They grow hemp, tobacco, silk, cotton, and cocoa as cash crops.

The staple food of the Ten is rice, which is prepared in a variety of ways. Wine made from rice is a popular drink. Pickled vegetables and vinegar soup are common items at meals. The Ten also enjoy eating dog meat, but a dog is only slaughtered for a very special occasion.

Ten marriages are nearly always monogamous; that is, each man has only one wife. In years past, they married at young ages. After the marriage occurs, often the bride is not allowed to move in with her husband, and she is only able to see him occasionally. Instead, she is forced to remain in her parent's home. After several years of this, the husband becomes tired of this situation and commences a process known as "putting on a false shell." The "false shell" is a large hat made from the shell of bamboo shoots. On a selected day, the husband and his family ambush the wife, remove her head scarf, undo her braids, force the false shell onto her head, and take her to their house. If the braids are not undone or they are not able to get the shell on her head, the husband's family must go home and try again another day. Usually, several attempts are needed before the husband and his family are successful in taking his wife home.

What are their beliefs?
The Ten traditionally followed a variety of religions. Some of them adhered to Buddhism or Taoism, but the majority of them worshipped many gods and believed that every part of nature had a spirit. On the sixth day of the sixth lunar month, they would worship their most honored ancestor, Pan Gu, who was believed to be the father of all the Bouyei-related peoples. They believed that he would provide them with an abundant harvest. The Ten also had ancestral altars in their homes, and food offerings were often left at the bases of certain trees and in small shrines outside the villages. Since the Communist takeover of China in 1949, all religions have been harshly suppressed; as a result, the importance of their traditional beliefs has declined for the Ten.

What are their needs?
Villagers of the Ten ethnic group often must walk long distances to obtain water. During the dry season, the walk for drinking water may take five or six hours. Unsanitary conditions have led to the outbreak of diseases, such as typhoid fever. Poor housing is a common problem among the Ten, and even the best homes often have poor, leaky roofs.

Most of the Ten have never been reached with the Gospel, and Christian resources are not available in their language. Very few of them have ever had the opportunity to accept or reject Christ, and even fewer have actually become Christians.

Prayer Points

  • Pray that the Lord will prepare the hearts of the Ten to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Pray for a mighty army of intercessors to be raised up to stand in the gap for the Ten.
  • Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Ten of China through dreams and visions.
  • Ask the Lord to use the believers of the Chinese underground church to bring the Gospel to the Ten.
  • Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that have kept the Ten of China bound for so many generations.
  • Pray for the Lord to call Christian medical workers who will be willing to go to China and work among the Ten.
  • Ask the Lord for qualified linguists who will be able to translate the Bible into the T'en language.
  • Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Ten church for the glory of His name!

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Ten
  • Country: China
  • Their language: T'en (Yanghuang)
  • Population: (1990) 22,700
    (1995) 24,000
    (2000) 25,100
  • Largest religion: Ethnic relgionist 99%
  • Christians: 1%
  • Church members: 240
  • Scriptures in their own language: None
  • Jesus Film in their own language: None
  • Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
  • Mission agencies working among this people: 0
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 4,300 (18%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 1,400 (6%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 2,900 (12%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 19,700 (82%)
  • Country: China
  • Population: (1990)1,135,043,000
  • Major peoples in size order: Han Chinese (Mandarin) 67.7%
    Han Chinese (Wu) 7.5%
    Han Chinese (Cantonese) 4.5%
    Han Chinese (Hunanese) 3.5%
  • Major religions: Nonreligious 55%
    Chinese Folk Religionist 17%
    Atheist 12.7%
    Christian 7.5%
    Buddhist 5.3%
    Muslim 2.4%
  • Number of denominations: 42

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Bethany World Prayer Center

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