Prayer Profile
The Cun of China

[IMAGE] The Cun are a people group living on Hainan, an island in the South China Sea, just off the southern coast of China. The Cun are considered to be part of the Han Chinese ethnic group, which is the dominant people group of China. They speak a language called Cun, which is derived from Chinese but contains many words borrowed from the indigenous languages of Hainan.

Although Han have lived in Hainan for 1,000 years, their population on the island was small until recent years. The island was long considered a disease-infested outpost of China and was economically backwards, although it had great potential for growth.

Beginning in the late 1980's, the island was flooded with Han immigrants from the mainland. Since that time, 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?
Many of the Cun are employed in agriculture. The hot, tropical weather provides heavy rain year- round, allowing crops to be grown continuously. Rice, sugar, coffee, tea, and rubber are all important crops. Other Cun are involved in mining salt, iron, gold, and other minerals. Fishing is an important industry as well. If not involved in agriculture, mining, or fishing, Cun are frequently small business owners.

The Cun traditionally practiced many types of marriage. Sometimes a very young girl would be given to another family, raised as a daughter, then married to one of the sons in her new family. Other times parents would match a young man with a young woman and exchange a dowry and bride price. In the ideal marriage, a husband and wife met each other for the first time at the wedding. Regardless of the type of marriage practiced, the Han practiced strict exogamy; that is, they married outside their own groups. They even refused to marry someone with the same surname.

Although the Cun of Hainan have great economic freedom, their personal lives continue to be regulated by China's Communist government. Customs such as marriages between minors, arranged marriages, dowries, and bride price payments have been banned. Cun couples are allowed to have only one child, a law which fosters a very high abortion rate.

What are their beliefs?
Most of the Cun of Hainan follow the ancient Chinese folk religion. Some are Buddhist and a few are non-religious. 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 upon the concept of maintaining harmony. The Cun are very superstitious, consulting horoscopes in an attempt to determine what course of action will promote harmony and bring good luck. The Cun 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.

What are their needs?
The Cun of Hainan have experienced a level of prosperity unknown in most parts of China. With that prosperity, however, have come many difficulties. Though many people of Hainan have become quite wealthy, many others have remained very poor. In addition, the growth of the economy has slowed in the last few years, causing many difficulties on the island.

Though the Cun are receptive to the Gospel and persecution in Hainan is less severe than in other parts of China, the people continue to be unreached. Christians are only 0.1% of the population. Neither the Bible nor the Jesus film is available in the Cun language.

Prayer Points

  • Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers to work among the Cun of China.
  • Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Cun through dreams and visions.
  • Ask the Lord to raise up prayer warriors who will intercede for the Cun of China.
  • Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that have kept the Cun bound for so many generations.
  • Pray that Christian radio broadcasts, evangelical literature, and the Jesus film will be made available to the Cun.
  • Pray for qualified linguists who will be able to translate the Bible into the Cun language.
  • Pray for the Cun of China to turn from materialism to the true riches in Jesus Christ.
  • Ask the Lord to raise up a strong local church among the Cun of China by the year 2000.

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Cun
  • Country: China
  • Their language: Cun
  • Population: (1990) 60,000
    (1995) 63,400
    (2000) 66,300
  • Largest religion: Chinese folk-religionist 99.9%
  • Christian: 0%
  • Church members: 0
  • 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: 10,800 (17%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 3,200 (5%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 7,600 (12%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 52,600 (83%)
  • 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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