Bai, Central in China

Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Bai, Central
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 869,000
World Population: 869,000
Primary Language: Bai, Central
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.08 %
Evangelicals: 0.08 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Central Bai are one of the most heavily sinicized (modified by Chinese influence) of China's 55 official minorities. Although the Chinese acknowledge two separate branches of Bai -- the Lemo and Nama -- the Central Bai scarcely qualify as an ethnic minority. "During the 1940 's... the Bai people denied their non-Chinese origin and would show offense if regarded as a minority." Various experts have commented, "The Bai like to be called Chinese." "The Bai nationality as an ethnic label was unknown to the Bai themselves until late 1958," and were "not quite a minority, but not quite Chinese either."

The Bai partly established the powerful, far-reaching Nanzhao Kingdom which was centered south of Dali. The kingdom grew so strong that they were able to defeat the Tang armies in the mid-700s. The kingdom flourished for 400 years until it collapsed in the tenth century and was replaced by the Kingdom of Dali. Dali, in turn, lasted until AD 1252 when it was overrun and destroyed by the all-conquering Mongol armies.

Where Are they Located?

Like many of China 's, minorities the Central Bai live in Yunnan Province.

What Are Their Lives Like?

During the 30 centuries the Bai have inhabited Dali, and they have gradually been assimilated into Chinese culture. Dali has always been famous for its prolific supply of marble, which gave the people their name (Bai means "white" in Chinese).

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Central Bai are followers of Mahayana Buddhism, unlike other Buddhist groups in Yunnan such as the Tai Lu, Tai Mao, Wa, De 'ang, and Buang who are Theravada Buddhists.

What Are Their Needs?

The Central Bai people need to find their way to the Savior who can take away their fear of the spirit world and replace it with peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Prayer Points

Pray for a "Book of Acts" type of movement to Christ among the Central Bai people of China.
Pray for the Central Bai people to understand and embrace that Jesus wants to bless their families and neighborhoods.
Pray for Holy Spirit anointed believers from the Central Bai people to change their society from within.
Pray for a movement in which the Holy Spirit leads and empowers disciples to make more disciples.
Pray for a movement of Jesus to heal and strengthen Central Bai communities.

Text Source:   Keith Carey