Hakka Chinese in Timor-Leste

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Hakka, although proud of their cultural differences, have never claimed to be non-Chinese. Many famous Chinese have been Hakka, including Deng Xiaoping, Lee Kwan Yew, and Hong Xiuquan (the leader of the Taiping Rebellion).

There is much speculation concerning the historical roots of the Hakka. Some claim that they were the first Chinese people to arrive in China. Others claim that the Hakka are the descendants of the Xiongnu tribe. This much is agreed upon: At various stages between the fourth and thirteenth centuries AD, large numbers of people were forced to flee their homes in the war-torn Yellow River valley to seek refuge in southern China. These war refugees came to be known as Kejia - a Hakka word meaning "strangers" or "guests." When the savage Mongol hordes swept across China in the thirteenth century, many Hakka fled to the south to escape the carnage.

In today’s world, the Hakka are among the Chinese diaspora in many countries including East Timor.

The Hakka and other Chinese minorities have a long history in East Timor. In the 10th century there were Chinese in East Timor exporting sandalwood to China. The Hakka and other Chinese peoples traded porcelain, glass and silver for sandalwood. In the 17th century they were among the Chinese traders competing with the Dutch and the Portuguese. Hakka traders continued their work in East Timor until 1976. The PRC re-established trade ties with East Timor in 2002.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Of the Chinese in East Timor, the Hakka are the most prominent. Their Hakka language is different than it is in China since they use loan words from Portuguese and Bahasa. They continue to work as traders and businessmen.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Hakka adhere to traditional Chinese religion. This can include aspects of Daoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Commonly they worship the spirits of their ancestors, believing these spirits can affect their future and their fortune. Therefore, they make offerings and build shrines and altars in their honor. About a third of the Hakka Chinese in East Timor are Christian, usually Roman Catholic.

What Are Their Needs?

Hakka Chinese Buddhists in East Timor need the chance to hear that Jesus Christ offers life to the full for those who will submit to his lordship.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to enable and thrust out loving workers to the Hakka Chinese in East Timor.

Pray for the Hakka to have receptive hearts to the things of Christ.

Pray for Hakka church planters to train others to plant more churches and make disciples.

Scripture Prayers for the Han Chinese, Hakka in Timor-Leste.


Operation China, Asia Harvest, Copyrighted © Used with permission


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Han Chinese, Hakka
People Name in Country Han Chinese, Hakka
Natural Name Hakka Chinese
Pronunciation HAH-kah
Alternate Names Han Chinese; Hokka; Ke; Kechia; Kehia; Kejia; Kek; Khek; Majia; Totok; Xinmin
Population this Country 800
Population all Countries 44,249,000
Total Countries 23
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 4
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed
People ID 12054
ROP3 Code 103691
ROP25 Code 302936
ROP25 Name Hakka
Country Timor-Leste
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country Timor-Leste
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank Not ranked

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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent
25.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 6.00 %)
32.00 %
Ethnic Religions
33.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
10.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Chinese, Hakka (800 speakers)
Language Code hak   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Chinese, Hakka (800 speakers)
Language Code hak   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Chinese, Hakka
Photo Source 婷 尹 - Pixabay 
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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