Li, Ha in China

Joshua Project has identified the Li, Ha only in China





Largest Religion

Main Language



The Ha are the largest of the groups under the official Li nationality.

The Ha language is the lingua franca used by most of the Li on Hainan Island. It has three main dialects. A Roman orthography for the Li was created in 1957. Ha Li shares 30% lexical similarity with Northern Zhuang, 27% with Gelao, and 26% with Dong.


For centuries the Li rebelled against Chinese rule of Hainan. During World War II, the Li joined the Communists to fight the Japanese who had invaded the island in 1939. Hainan was considered a part of Guangdong until 1988, when it was granted status as a separate province.


Ha Li women in the past wore 56 huge earrings during festivals. One visitor described their appearance: "The ears of the Ha women were weighted down with silver and brass, and their ankles were circled with silver and gold bands. The women I saw did not cover their breasts. They were very coy and shy. The men were tall, many six feet, and wore their black or brown hair in big knots extending out about four inches from their foreheads. Many wore turbans of red, white, and blue through which they extended a big knot. They dressed in G-strings, and carried great knives in baskets at their backs."


The Ha Li god, Pa-Thung, "is a good god, and lives in some unknown place. But his agents, devils sent to watch the (Ha Li) villages, are ever present and always live in a nearby cave, in a river, in the jungle, or on a nearby mountain. The villages have paid priests, or witchdoctors, who complain to Pa-Thung when local devils spitefully send thunder, lightning, and rain or when they bring famine or sickness to the people."


Of the approximately 1,000 Li believers on Hainan Island, the majority are among the Ha Li. Many Li churches are filled with rampant heresies and cultic activities. One Christian visitor described a bizarre Li church service. "The leader drinks a cup of tea which has been blessed by the Holy Spirit and sprays it over the believers. Then they close their eyes and dance until they become exhausted and fall to the ground. The Li Christians lack familiarity with the Bible."

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

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2012-06-26
People Name General Li, Ha (Lee, Ha)
People Name in Country Li, Ha
Population in China 688,000
World Population 688,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Bli, Dli, La, Lai, Le, Li, Loi, Paoting
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Li
People Name General Li, Ha (Lee, Ha)
Ethnic Code MSY49z
People ID 18550
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 Approximately 540,000 speakers of Ha Li are located in the western part of Hainan Island. The Ha Li live primarily in Ledong, Yaxian, and Dongfang counties, although they can also be found on the fringes of four other neighboring counties. Hainan was a hunter's paradise until recently, and even now a large number of wild animals can still be found in the more mountainous regions. In 1938 one visitor reported, "Hainan's wild-life includes two species of deer… porcupines, foxes, flying squirrels, monkeys, and pythons… there are also boars… leopards, black gibbons, and numerous birds such as parrots, pheasants, mynas, pigeons and doves.".   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Hlai: Ha (688,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Hlai: Ha 688,000
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 0.11 %)
0.20 %
Ethnic Religions
95.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
4.80 %
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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