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Updated: Mar 24, 2023

The Hui are the second largest ethnic group in China, with a population of approximately 10.58 million, also making up the largest Muslim ethnic group in China with 96% of the population believing in Islam.

About 1400 years ago, Islamic diplomats, merchants and soldiers from the Arab regions and Persia came to China along the Silk Road and settled there by marrying Han Chinese women or adopting Han Chinese children. Over the years, the appearance and language of the Hui people have all changed to resemble the Han people, but they are still treated as foreigners and marginalized, and so the Hui people seek their identity in Islam. The language is Chinese, but with regards to religious terminology, they use Arabic. Their beliefs and customs follow the traditions and rules of Islam, many Hui people have the surname “Ma”, which is inspired by the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

During Ramadan, the faithful Hui fast from sunrise to sunset and pray five times a day. Girls participate from the age of 9 and boys from 12, and many college students also participate. At school, students are conscious of each other and do not appear in the school cafeteria during the day. But few young Hui adults today actually believe that they can go to heaven through prayer and Ramadan fasting. They do not fast to focus on prayer, but because it is the expectation of Muslim communities around the world, so they follow out of obligation. Some have only faint hope that through the act of fasting, some of their sins can be lessened. Those who cannot keep the fast because of their lifestyle and burdens of life feel so guilty that they cannot even have the faith and hope that they can go to heaven. Moreover, the identity of Islam is gradually becoming blurred in China's communist ideology and secular values.

After Xi Jinping took office, Chinese authorities feared that Islamic fundamentalism would spread to the Hui, so they further strengthened control over Islam by removing speakers from mosques and removing crescent moon decorations and domes that symbolize Islam. However, the younger Hui people hold no resentment or anger towards the Party’s policies and have even conformed for the large part. College students learned to adopt atheism, Communist, and Marxist principles from elementary school, so their faith in Islam has internally weakened. However, they still blindly observe and follow Islam’s rules as they have habitually as a community since childhood. Few Hui have ever read the Qur’an nor know anything about its contents but they still solidly yet meaninglessly practice Islamic traditions.

In addition, since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2019, visa issuance has been minimized, strict border control policies have been implemented, and travel between regions within China has been restricted. As a result, the areas where ethnic minorities live are becoming more isolated, and their weariness against outsiders is growing even more.

Looking at these situations, it seems that the channel through which the gospel can be preached to the Hui people is getting more and more restricted. The door to reach the Hui people seems to be closing but God has not stopped even at this time, and He is accomplishing His work toward the Hui people! Recently, the number of Hui people who hear the gospel and profess their faith is increasing, and college students and young people are forming a community of faith. Recently, Hui Christian sisters have come together to pray for the nations and to confess that our nation needs a church!

It seems to be the most difficult time right now, but God is working among the Hui in the most faithful way! A strong and mighty wind of the Holy Spirit will blow among the Hui, and through them our Lord alone will be glorified!

[Today’s Prayer]

1. May the souls of the Hui people, whose hearts have become poor amid government persecution, meet Jesus during Ramadan! Let them return not to communism or Islam, but to Jesus Christ their true savior!

2. Let the Christians of the Hui who confessed their faith keep their faith to the end even under the persecution of the government! The ancestors of the Hui people came from the Arabs and Persia to spread Islam to China, but let them now carry the gospel to the Arabs and Persia!


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