Li, Bendi in China

Joshua Project has identified the Li, Bendi only in China





Largest Religion

Main Language



Although the various Li groups on Hainan Island acknowledge a common historical kinship, "they are divided into several groups, distinguishable by their different dialects [and costumes]." The name Li means "black" or "dark brown"; it can also mean "numerous."


The ancestors of the Li are believed to have migrated to Hainan Island from the Mainland approximately 3,000 years ago. The state of Li is mentioned at the beginning of the tenth book of the Chinese Book of History. The state was conquered by the Chief of the West in AD 1123. Historically the Chinese have viewed Hainan as a backward, undesirable place. When Li Deyu - a Chinese prime minister during the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) - was exiled to Hainan, he described his new home as "the gate to hell."


Until recently the Bendi Li relied on hunting and fishing for their survival. One visitor to Hainan Island noted, "The natives do not use fish hooks, but dam the numerous interior rivers and pour in root poison which stupefies the fish, making them easy to spear."


The Bendi Li are mostly polytheists and animists, worshiping a multiplicity of gods and spirits. Before the antireligion purges of the Cultural Revolution, most Li villages had their own shaman who acted as a medium between the community and the spirit world.


There is no known Christian presence among the Bendi Li. Of the more than one million Li on Hainan Island, only 1,000 believe in Jesus Christ. The majority have never heard the gospel before. Historically, most evangelism conducted on Hainan Island has been aimed at the Hainanese Chinese.

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

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2015-07-27
People Name General Li, Bendi (Lee, Ben-dee)
People Name in Country Li, Bendi
Population in China 79,000
World Population 79,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Bendi
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Li
People Name General Li, Bendi (Lee, Ben-dee)
Ethnic Code MSY49z
People ID 18549
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 A 1987 linguistic survey listed 44,000 speakers of the Bendi Li language. The Bendi language further divides into the Baisha dialect (36,000 speakers) and the Yuanmen dialect (8,000 speakers). The Bendi Li are one of five distinct Li tribes located on southern China's tropical Hainan Island. The Bendi inhabit the central part of the island, including the eastern half of Baisha County and northward to Yinggeling..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Hlai: Bendi (79,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Hlai: Bendi 79,000
For Primary Language: Hlai

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Jesus Film: view in Hlai, Has Film / Video
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.03 %)
0.10 %
Ethnic Religions
96.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
3.90 %
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: Operation China, Paul Hattaway   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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