Bonan in China

The Bonan have only been reported in China
Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

During the Mongolian world empire, large numbers of people from Central Asia were mixed together and sent to China as troops and administrators. These garrisons settled after the collapse of the empire and gradually formed into their own people groups. The Bonan were originally Mongol troops sent to their present location on the edge of Chinese territory to act as watch guards against the fierce Tibetans. In 1862 religious friction between Muslim Bonan and those who had embraced Tibetan Buddhism caused the two groups to split. These religious disputes and a quarrel over water rights caused the Muslim Bonan to move east to their present location in Gansu.

After decades of intermarriage with other peoples such as the Hui, Han, and Tu, a distinct people group formed who came to call themselves Bonan, which means "I protect you." This name refers to their long history as the soldiers and protectors of the people in the area.

The Bonan speak a Mongol language, altered from their original Mongol tongue by 700 years of isolation. Today, Bonan is more similar to the Dongxiang and Tu languages than to modern Mongolian. A 1960 study of 3,000 words found that approximately half of the Bonan vocabulary were loanwords from other languages.


What Are Their Lives Like?

The Bonan are renowned for their famous Bonan knife. It is a skillfully made knife with engraved oxhorn handles. Profits from sales of the knife, along with farming and logging, are the main sources of income for the Bonan. The Bonan send the best of their young people to study at the Northwest Nationalities Institute in the city of Lanzhou.


What Are Their Beliefs?

The majority of Bonan are Sunni Muslims. They worship in their own mosques and no longer consider the Tibetan Buddhist Bonan to be their brothers. The Bonan are linguistically related to the Dongxiang Muslims in the area and live downstream from the Muslim Salar people of Xunhua. First converted to Islam by Muhammed Amin in 1750, Xunhua County contained 73 mosques in the early 1980s.

There has never been a Bonan church nor a single known Bonan believer. Missionaries worked among the neighboring Salar until the 1950s, but they were unable to establish a church. Little has changed since the 1920s when a plea went unheeded for workers to the Muslims in Gansu, "to give their whole time to each of these tribes."


What Are Their Needs?

The Bonan people need to submit to Jesus Christ so they can experience the abundant life he offers in John 10:10.


Prayer Points

Pray for bold workers who are driven by the love of the Holy Spirit to go to them.

Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among them.

Pray for the authority of Christ to bind hindering spiritual forces to lead them from darkness to light.

Pray for signs and wonders to happen among them and for great breakthroughs with a rapid multiplication of disciples and house churches.


Scripture Prayers for the Bonan in China.


References

Operation China, Asia Harvest, Copyrighted © Used with permission


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Bonan
People Name in Country Bonan
Pronunciation Bo-nahn
Population this Country 12,000
Population all Countries 12,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Bao'an; Baonan; Baonuo; Paoan; Pao-an; Paongan
People ID 18419
ROP3 Code 114014
Country China
Region Asia, Northeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 17  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Approximately 10,000 Bonan inhabit areas of southwest Gansu Province. In addition, 4,000 members of the Tu minority speak Bonan as their first language. The Bonan occupy several townships and villages in Jishishan County. The Jishi Mountains have long been an effective defense against approaching armies. For centuries the Bonan have lived on the edge of both Tibetan and Chinese civilizations.   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Country China
Region Asia, Northeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 17  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Approximately 10,000 Bonan inhabit areas of southwest Gansu Province. In addition, 4,000 members of the Tu minority speak Bonan as their first language. The Bonan occupy several townships and villages in Jishishan County. The Jishi Mountains have long been an effective defense against approaching armies. For centuries the Bonan have lived on the edge of both Tibetan and Chinese civilizations..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Primary Language Bonan (12,000 speakers)
Language Code peh   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Tongren
Dialect Code 8293   Global Recordings Listing
Language Written Unknown
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Bonan (12,000 speakers)
Language Code peh   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Tongren
Dialect Code 8293   Global Recordings Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Bonan

Primary Language:  Bonan

Bible Translation Status:  Translation Needed

Resource Type Resource Name Source
None reported  
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
10.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
90.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
Unknown
Independent
Unknown
Orthodox
Unknown
Other Christian
Unknown
Protestant
Unknown
Roman Catholic
Unknown
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2022  Operation China, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more