Indonesian in China





Largest Religion

Main Language



In 1952, 20,000 overseas Chinese refugees moved to Hainan Island after the Communist government issued an invitation for overseas Chinese to return to the "Motherland." The refugees from Malaysia were ethnic Han Chinese and have assimilated back to China easily. Today they are counted as part of the Han Chinese nationality by the government. Many of the Indonesians, however, were not of Chinese descent at all. Today they call themselves Oran Toraja, which means "people from Toraja." They have remained an ethnolinguistically distinct people group. One observer noted, "Not only do the villages speak Indonesian, but also their lifestyle remains Indonesian."


An additional 1,500 Indonesians came to China in the early 1960s after the failed Communist coup in Indonesia. The Chinese authorities resettled one group on Hainan Island and the other in Fujian Province. They encountered great hardship upon arrival in China. "Many of the new arrivals broke down in tears. ... They were not farmers; they had to learn from the beginning how to plant crops and reap harvests."


Ethnically, many of the Indonesians in China were from one of the tribal groups in the Toraja Mountains. They have largely forsaken their traditional clothing and customs, although some families remember their heritage on special occasions. During the Cultural Revolution, "although life was hard, they were still able to maintain a personal and ethnic identity."


Although Islam is the state religion of Indonesia, the immigrants to China are not Muslims. Most came from the heavily Christianized Sulawesi Islands.


Close to half of the Indonesians in China profess faith in Christ. The remainder are nonreligious. On Hainan Island the Indonesians meet in their own churches, both official and underground fellowships. During the 1960s Christian worship was banned and many of the Indonesian believers were persecuted. The Indonesian church on Hainan Island is strong and meets nearly every day of the week. Since the mid-1980s Christian leaders from Sulawesi have come to Hainan to encourage and train the Indonesian believers.

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

People Name General Indonesian (In-do-nee-seun)
People Name in Country Indonesian
Population in China 10,000
World Population 6,391,000
Countries 15
Progress Scale 3.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Javanese Indonesian, Madurese Indonesian, Malay Indonesian, Minangkabau Indonesian, Oran Toraja, Sundanese Indonesian
Affinity Bloc Malay Peoples
People Cluster Malay
People Name General Indonesian (In-do-nee-seun)
Ethnic Code MSY44k
People ID 18503
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 More than 8,500 Indonesians are located in four provinces of southern China. About 4,000 live on Hainan Island, with nearly the same number located in Fujian Province. A few hundred Indonesians live in southern Guangxi, and one small group has recently settled south of Kunming in Yunnan Province. The main body of Indonesians were placed in the Xinglong Overseas Chinese Farm on Hainan Island, an area good for coffee, pepper, coconut, and rubber production..   Source:  Operation China, 2000

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Enthologue Language Map

Ethnolinguistic map from University of Texas or other map

Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Indonesian (11,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Indonesian 11,000
For Primary Language: Indonesian

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1955-1968)
New Testament Yes   (1968-2000)
Complete Bible Yes   (1974-2000)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible Visuals General
Bible-in-Your-Language Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Indonesian New Translation Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Perjanjian Baru:Versi Mudah Dibaca Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Terjemahan Sederhana Indonesia Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Today's Indonesian Version Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Today's Malay Version Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Today's Malay Version with Deuterocanonicals Text / Printed Matter
Bibles, Bible League Text / Printed Matter
Cartoon Gospel tract Text / Printed Matter
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
Fathers Love Letter Film / Video
Four Spiritual Laws General
God's Story Video Film / Video
Got Questions Ministry General
Indonesian Language Film Film / Video
Jesus Film: view in Indonesian Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Online New Testament - New Translation (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Christianity
Religion Subdivision: Protestant

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 45.45 %)
51.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
1.00 %
48.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
40.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
60.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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