The Chienchiang of China
The Chienchiang are a sub-group of the Bouyei, one of China's 55 officially recognized ethnic minority groups. Closely related to the nearby Zhuang minority of the Yunnan province, they live in the southern and southwestern parts of the Guizhou province, which is located in south-central China. The native language of the Chienchiang is spoken by most of the population, although many now speak Chinese or Bouyei as a second language.
During the Middle Ages, the Chienchiang adopted a feudal economic system from the Han Chinese in which a few wealthy landowners controlled nearly all the land. The landowners often mistreated their tenants, and the Chienchiang commoners sometimes reacted violently against those in power. When Communists rebels took over the Chinese government in 1949, the lives of the Chienchiang improved somewhat. However, many of them continue to live as poor farmers.
What are their lives like?
The Chienchiang live on the Yi-Guizhou Plateau, which is divided by mountain ranges, valleys, and rivers. Most of the Chienchiang are sustenance farmers and cultivate a variety of crops in the fertile soil such as rice, wheat, corn, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, potatoes, and beans. They also grow hemp, tobacco, silk, cotton, and cocoa as cash crops.
The staple food of the Chienchiang is rice, which is prepared in a variety of ways. Pickled vegetables and vinegar soup are common items at meals. They also enjoy eating dog meat, but a dog is only prepared for a very special occasion. Wine made from rice is a popular beverage.
The Chienchiang live mainly in two-storied houses. Often, the family lives on the upper floor, while animals are kept on the bottom level. Villages are located away from the main roads and may be surrounded by a stone wall or bamboo stockade. Most villages are small and situated near rivers or on plains.
The Chienchiang are known as gracious and hospitable people. They consider it an honor to have visitors in their homes. Upon entering a home, a guest is first offered two "pillow cakes," which are light, sweetened rice cakes. The hosts will often entertain the guest with a lavish meal, and as a sign of honor, the visitor is offered the head and feet of a duck.
Chienchiang marriages are nearly always monogamous, that is, each man has only one wife. Sometimes marriages are arranged while the future bride and groom are still toddlers. After the wedding, the bride is not allowed to leave her home to be with her husband until after a year or two has passed. At that time, the groom and his family may "kidnap" the bride to take her to her husband's home.
What are their beliefs?
The Chienchiang traditionally followed a variety of religions. Some of them were Buddhists or Taoists, but the majority of them worshipped many gods and believed that every part of nature had a spirit. On the sixth day of the sixth lunar month, they would worship their most honored ancestor, Pan Gu, who, they believed, would in return, bless them with an abundant harvest. The Chienchiang also constructed ancestral altars in their homes. Food offerings were often left at the bases of certain trees and in small shrines outside the villages.
Since the Communist takeover of China, religious practices have declined among the Chienchiang.
What are their needs?
Recently, China has witnessed dramatic economic development, but much of the new investment is in the major cities and focused on industry and trade. In the outlying areas, progress has been slow. The Chienchiang villagers must often walk long distances to obtain water. During the dry season, the journey for drinking water may take five or six hours. Unsanitary conditions have lead to the outbreak of diseases such as typhoid. Sub-standard housing is common and even the best homes often have poor, leaky roofs.
- Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into the Guizhou province.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to the missions agency that is targeting the Chienchiang.
- Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Chienchiang through dreams and visions.
- Pray that God will give the Chienchiang believers boldness to share Christ with their people.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Chienchiang bound.
- Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
- Pray that Christian radio broadcasts, evangelical literature, and the Jesus film will be made available to the Chienchiang.
- Ask God to raise up powerful leaders in the Chienchiang church.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Chienchiang
- Country: China
- Their language: Qienjiang
- Largest religion:
- Christian: <1%
- Church members: 600
- Scriptures in their own language: None
- Jesus Film in their own language: None
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
- Mission agencies working among this people: 1
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 23,400 (20%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 96,600 (80%)
- Country: China
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 42
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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