Li, Meifu in China

Li, Meifu
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2024
Operation China, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Li, Meifu
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 54,000
World Population: 54,000
Primary Language: Hlai
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.10 %
Evangelicals: 0.03 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Li
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Meifu are one of five different tribes that have been combined to form the official Li nationality in China. The Li are believed to have once been part of the great Yue peoples who splintered to become today's Li, Zhuang, Bouyei, Shui, Dong, and Dai minority groups. In the sixth century AD, Madame Xian, a political leader of the Yues in southern China, pledged allegiance to the Sui Dynasty This opened up Hainan Island to Chinese rule for the first time in history. The fact that the Meifu refer to themselves as "the Han people below" suggests that they may have been descended from Chinese migrants over the centuries, who intermingled with the Li and formed their own language.

What Are Their Lives Like?

In the past the Li lived in simple straw huts designed to withstand the many typhoons that strike the island every year. They dug a pit in the ground, placed bamboo or wood poles over it to form an oblong frame, and covered it with straw. The result was a low-lying structure that resembled an overturned boat. As part of a Li wedding ceremony, the bride's family must kiss a pig and two fowls. The bride's eldest brother remains her legal guardian after the marriage.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Meifu Li traditionally believed in the existence of ghosts and devils, but now only the elderly practice spirit appeasement. The younger generation, having been educated in atheistic schools, rejects all such practices as foolish superstition.

There are no known churches or Christians among the Meifu Li. Although many people on Hainan have come to Christ in recent years—the total number of believers has grown to approximately 70,000—the majority of the converts are among the different Han Chinese language groups in the northern part of the island.

What Are Their Needs?

Without the guidance of Christ, these people are like sheep without a shepherd. They need the good shepherd in their families and communities.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers.

Pray for the Lord to intervene in their families, calling people to his side.

Pray for their hearts to be drawn to the Lord of lords.

Pray for a church planting movement to thrive in their communities.

Text Source:   Joshua Project