Throughout the rest of March, we will be posting daily on Chinese Muslims, our prayer highlight at the next Secret Church gathering on March 29th. Join us as we learn more about who these people are and begin to pray for God to make His name known among this people group.

The Basics: The Dongxiang people, with a population of 621,500, are the fourth largest of China’s 10 Muslim people groups. Their origin dates back to the 13th century when China was subdued by the Mongols, and Genghis Khan moved some of his garrisons into northwest China to control the land he had taken. Soldiers intermarried with local women and gradually developed their own distinct ethnic group, now known as the Dongxiang people. The largest concentration of the Dongxiang people is in the rugged, dry mountains of Gansu Province. Dongxiang County is a narrow, desolate and arid valley, bordered by rivers on three sides.

Their Beliefs: Islam is the dominant religion of the Dongxiang, with one mosque for every 30 homes and one paid Muslim worker for every 18 families.

Their Livelihood: Most Dongxiang are farmers whose main crops are potatoes, barley, millet, wheat and corn. Many also raise livestock, particularly sheep. The Dongxiang are known for making elaborate rugs and growing their “three treasures:” apricots, melons and other fruits.

Their Language: During their seclusion in northwest China, the Dongxiang people formed their own language which is related to Mongolian. Originally it was only a spoken language. A writing system has been developed, but most are still not aware of it. They have an oral tradition of legends, stories, folk songs, riddles and proverbs. Some Dongxiang understand spoken Mandarin, but many have only had one year of schooling and find it difficult to learn Chinese. The Dongxiang people are considered among the poorest and least literate of China’s minorities.

The Situation: No official study groups or churches exist among the Dongxiang, though there are a few Christians. Foreigners are restricted from the area, and Han Chinese believers have been harassed and even imprisoned for sharing the gospel. There is currently no Bible, radio broadcast or evangelistic material in the Dongxiang language.


  • Ask God to send believers to live among and boldly proclaim the gospel to the Dongxiang people.

  • Pray that God will open the hearts of the Dongxiang to the Good News of salvation so that they may enter His kingdom.

  • Pray for the few Dongxiang believers to be discipled, and for their witness to bear fruit in their communities.

This post was re-posted from For more information about and prayer requests for Chinese Muslims, visit Pray for the Hui and follow @pray4hui on Twitter.