Uzbek, Northern in China





Largest Religion

Main Language



The Uzbek are one of China's 55 official minority groups. Their numbers have varied greatly over the course of recent decades. In 1953 there were more than 13,600 Uzbeks in China. By the 1964 census, however, their numbers had dwindled to only 7,700: many Uzbeks chose to flee to the Soviet Union to escape from Mao Zedong's extreme policies.


Uzbek history in China dates back to the time of the Mongol hordes who dominated Central Asia and China in the thirteenth century. The Uzbek in China are descended from traders who traveled along the Silk Road. Others arrived in the 1750s after the Chinese armies defeated the Jungars. The name Uzbek probably came from Ozbeg Khan, a Mongol ruler of the Golden Horde who spread Islam throughout many parts of the Empire in the fourteenth century. Those who remained in the area under Ozbeg Khan's rule became known as Uzbeks. Previously, they were called Kazaks.


The Uzbek's Islamic faith permeates every area of their daily lives. Funerals are major events in Uzbek society. The dead person's children stay in mourning for a full seven days. Forty, 70, and 100 days after a death, Muslim priests are called to chant portions of the Qur'an inside the home of the grieving family.


For centuries the Muslim clergy have been responsible for the religious and secular education of Uzbek children. When the Chinese announced that all children in China were required to attend a state school, the Uzbek were outraged and refused to send their children to be educated by an atheistic regime. The Uzbek are committed Muslims, perhaps more so than any of the other Muslim peoples in Xinjiang.


There are an estimated 50 Uzbek Christians in China today - significant considering the strength of Islam among the Uzbek. Most Uzbek, however, are completely unaware of the gospel. The Uzbek in China are a difficult group to reach for Christ because of their small numbers and close-knit communities. A breakthrough has started to occur in Uzbekistan, however. More than 46 churches have been planted in recent years. In 1996, 40 Uzbek believers volunteered to become church planters in the countries of Central Asia.

Profile Source:   Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Uzbek, Northern (Wooz-beck)
People Name in Country Uzbek, Northern
Population in China 21,000
World Population 27,400,000
Countries 17
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Northern Uzbek, Ouzbek, Ozbek, Usbaki, Uzbek, Uzbeki, Wuzibieke
Affinity Bloc Turkic Peoples
People Cluster Uzbek
People Name General Uzbek, Northern (Wooz-beck)
Ethnic Code MSY41l
People ID 14039
Country China
Region Northeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 29  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country The 18 million Uzbeks are one of the great peoples of Central Asia. Of this number, 14 million proudly live in their own homeland, Uzbekistan. China has a relatively small number of Uzbeks. Only 14,500 were counted in the 1990 census. Most live in the city of Yining in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Small numbers are also found in the large cities of Qoqek, Kashgar, Urumqi, Yarkant, and Kargilik..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Uzbek, Northern (21,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Uzbek, Northern 21,000
For Primary Language: Uzbek, Northern

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1891-1992)
New Testament Yes   (1992-2010)
Complete Bible No
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible-in-Your-Language Text / Printed Matter
Got Questions Ministry General
Jesus Film: view in Uzbek, Northern Film / Video
Magdalena (Jesus Film Project) Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project) Film / Video
Primary Religion: Islam
Religion Subdivision: Sunni

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.29 %)
0.50 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.50 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
100.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Caleb Project   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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