Salar in China

Joshua Project has identified the Salar only in China

Population

142,000

Christian

0.02%

Evangelical

0.00%

Largest Religion

Main Language

Progress


Profile Source: Copyright © Operation China, Paul Hattaway


Identity

Although the Salar hold the distinction of being one of China's official nationalities, they are very similar to the Uygurs of Xinjiang. Their language is virtually the same as Uygur. One expert lists Salar as a Uygur dialect, and notes that "The main difference between the Salar and the Uygurs of Xinjiang is geographical."

The majority of the Salar can speak their language, which is part of the Turkic family. Because the Salar live at the crossroads of several great civilizations, many are bilingual or multilingual in Chinese, Uygur, and Amdo Tibetan. A 1960 study found 7% of the Salar vocabulary was Persian-Arabic, in addition to a few Mongolian and Tibetan loanwords.


History

The Salar have a colorful tale of their history. They say they originated in the famous city of Sarmarkand, located in today's Uzbekistan. In the eleventh century a tribe known as the Salor fled persecution in their homeland. They were forced to migrate across the mountains of Central Asia. Not knowing where they were going, the Salar strapped a Qur'an to a camel's head and asked Allah to guide them to wherever he wanted them to settle. After many months of travel, a Salar Imam had a vivid dream of a beautiful waterfall. The next day the travelers came to the same waterfall. The camel stopped to drink and turned into a large white stone. Taking it as a divine sign, the tribe stopped there and began to build a community. In 1781 the Qing armies crushed a Salar uprising. The Salar suffered massive losses. As many as 40% of their entire population were obliterated in the battle.


Customs

Divorce is a simple procedure for the Salar. The husband merely announces, "I don't want you any longer," and the woman leaves the home. She is free to marry again.


Religion

The Salar were reportedly converted to Islam as recently as 1750 by Muhammed Amin. By the early 1980s, the Salar worshiped in 73 mosques throughout Xunhua County. Many more mosques have been opened in recent years. Although they have lived beside Tibetans for centuries, the Salar have resisted all pressure to convert to Tibetan Buddhism.


Christianity

Before 1949 few missionaries reached out to the Salar. In the 1920s an appeal was made for "workers to give their whole time to the Salar." Ralph Covell laments, "Missionaries talked about the Salar but the rigors of a harsh climate, and a demanding geographical environment [meant] only a few were prepared for the necessary long-term commitment and sacrifices." No church has ever been established among the Salar, although today there are a small number of Salar attending a Han Chinese church in Xining City.



Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway Copyrighted ©: Yes Used with permission
Submit a new profile or correction

Submit an update
Country China
Continent Asia
Region Northeast Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Location in Country Approximately 113,000 Salar live in north central China. More than 70% are located in Xunhua County in southeast Qinghai Province. Other Salar live in towns spread 50 kilometers (31 mi.) east to west and 40 kilometers (25 mi.) north to south. Additional communities are located in neighboring Gansu Province, while 1,447 Salar live in Yining County of Xinjiang - a vast distance from the main body of Salar. Most Salar live in poor, mudbaked shacks.
Submit an update
People Name General Salar
People Name in Country Salar
ROP3 Code 108543
Joshua Project People ID 14658
Indigenous Yes
Population in China 142,000
Least-Reached Yes
Alternate Names for People Group Sala, Turki Huihui, Turki Hwei Hwei,
Submit an update
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Salar 142,162
Submit an update
Affinity Bloc Turkic Peoples
People Cluster Uyghur
People Name General Salar
Ethnic Code MSY41z
Submit an update
Largest Religion Islam
Buddhism
0.00%
Christianity
0.02%    ( Evangelical  0.00% )
Ethnic Religions
0.00%
Hinduism
0.00%
Islam
99.98%
Non-Religious
0.00%
Other / Small
0.00%
Unknown
0.00%
Christian Segments
Anglican
0.00%
Independent
100.00%
Protestant
0.00%
Orthodox
0.00%
Other Christian
0.00%
Roman Catholic
0.00%
Photo Source: Anonymous
Map Source: Bethany World Prayer Center Copyrighted ©: Yes
Profile Source:
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
Get Involved
Register ministry activity for this group

Copyright © 2014 Joshua Project. A ministry of the U.S. Center for World Mission.