Dan Chinese in China

The Han Chinese, Dan have only been reported in China
Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Identity

The Dan prefer to call themselves Soisangyan, a name which means "water-borne people" in their dialect. Although they are officially classified as part of the Han Chinese nationality, most other people in southern China "attest the Dan are not Han Chinese at all, but rather a distinct minority race." Experts now generally agree that although the Dan are ethnolinguistically a Sinitic people, "there is no doubt that they have been discriminated against in the past, officially as well as socially. It is clear they have developed a strong sense of group identity. Other Chinese consider them an separate ethnic group. Such a castelike distinction is more typical of India than of China."


History

Chinese references to the Dan and their lives as boat people date back at least 800 years. The uniqueness of the Dan was enforced by tales describing how they had short legs, useful only for life at sea. Some stories alleged they had six toes and even a tail. In Hong Kong the status of the Dan has been greatly diminished in recent years since the government has outlawed the practice of living on boats.


Customs

Not surprisingly, all customs of the Dan revolve around their lives on the water. Whole families live on small boats that "seldom if ever touch the shore. Children are born and raised on the boats, and dogs, chickens, and cats move freely from deck to deck. In the old days little coffin boats carried each [Dan] person to his or her final resting place on land. For some, it was the first time on land as well as the last." The Chinese have a saying that a Dan person "on the water is a veritable dragon, on land is only a miserable worm."


Religion

The Dan developed their own religious beliefs relating to their unique lifestyles. They worship Tin Hau, the goddess of fishermen, whose image is carried in floating temples. They also honor the spirit of the fish and sea dragon.


Christianity

Because of their close-knit families and unique, isolated culture, few Dan in China have ever been exposed to the gospel message. Churches have existed among the Dan in Hong Kong for more than 50 years, however, due to the efforts of mission agencies who specifically focused on them and boarded their boats to share the love of Christ. Most Dan can understand standard Cantonese and could be reached using materials in that language.


Prayer Points

Scripture Prayers for the Han Chinese, Dan in China.


Profile Source:   Operation China, Asia Harvest  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-04-12
Han profile for Children and Family Missions Activities
People Name General Han Chinese, Dan
People Name in Country Han Chinese, Dan
Natural Name Dan Chinese
Pronunciation Dan
Population this Country 5,062,000
Population all Countries 5,062,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 4
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed
Alternate Names Boat People; Dan; Danjia; Ngai; Soisangyan; Tanka; Xumin
People ID 18473
ROP3 Code 114079
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 A 1972 study listed a population of about three million Dan people, historically known as the "Boat People," living along the coasts of southern China including Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan Island, and Macau. An additional 150,000 lived on boats in Hong Kong at the time. By the 1980s the number in Hong Kong had diminished to about 50,000. In addition, Dan people have migrated to several countries in Southeast Asia, where they are known by various names, including the official Ngai minority in Vietnam.   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 A 1972 study listed a population of about three million Dan people, historically known as the "Boat People," living along the coasts of southern China including Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan Island, and Macau. An additional 150,000 lived on boats in Hong Kong at the time. By the 1980s the number in Hong Kong had diminished to about 50,000. In addition, Dan people have migrated to several countries in Southeast Asia, where they are known by various names, including the official Ngai minority in Vietnam..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Primary Language Chinese, Yue (5,062,000 speakers)
Language Code yue   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Yuehai
Dialect Code 20733   Global Recordings Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Chinese, Yue (5,062,000 speakers)
Language Code yue   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Yuehai
Dialect Code 20733   Global Recordings Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Chinese, Yue
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
5.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 6.70 %)
8.80 %
Ethnic Religions
61.40 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
24.80 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
0.0 %
Independent
89.0 %
Orthodox
0.0 %
Other Christian
1.0 %
Protestant
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
10.0 %
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2021  Operation China, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Profile Source Operation China, Asia Harvest  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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