Lingao in China

Joshua Project has identified the Lingao only in China





Largest Religion

Main Language



The Lingao, despite speaking their own Tai language, have been officially included as members of the Han Chinese nationality. "Although they regard themselves as Han people, they are regarded as Li people in historical records and by the Han people on Hainan Island." The Lingao call their language the "village language" - the same name as the Cun people on the west coast of Hainan. To avoid confusion, the Chinese have labeled this group Lingao.

Although the use of the Lingao language is widespread, "it has no orthography and is not taught in schools." Scholars disagree regarding the linguistic affiliation of Lingao. Some consider it "closely related to Bouyei, Giay, and Northern Zhuang." Many city-dwelling Lingao are bilingual in the local dialect of Chinese, and some speak Mandarin as a third language. Most rural Lingao, especially women and children, are unable to speak any language except their own.


The Lingao language suggests they may have originally been Zhuang who migrated from the Mainland. Hainan has belonged to China for about 2,000 years. "Yet the Chinese have occupied little more than its fringe, and among them the legend still persists that the wild men of the interior have tails!"


Many Lingao fish in the Beibu Gulf between Hainan and the Chinese Mainland. Every year, between May and October, severe storms lash the area.


The majority of Lingao are animists. In some locations a multiplicity of spirit beings and ghosts are worshiped. Ancestor worship is also common.


In 1630 Jesuit priests from Macau came and set up a chapel in Fucheng - then the capital of Qiongzhou.7 More than 250 years later, in the 1880s, Danish missionary Carl Jeremiassen also "settled down in Fucheng, Qiongshan County, where he bought the Ancestral Hall and turned it into a church." Today, most of the Christians on Hainan are in the northern part of the island. Many Han and Lingao youth have found Christ in recent years, as both official and underground churches report overflowing crowds at their meetings.

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

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2012-06-25
People Name General Lingao (Lin-gaw)
People Name in Country Lingao
Population in China 673,000
World Population 673,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Be, Limkou, Limkow, Ongbe
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Li
People Name General Lingao (Lin-gaw)
Ethnic Code MSY49z
People ID 18556
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 640,000 speakers of Lingao inhabit four counties in the northern part of Hainan Island, including the provincial capital Haikou, and as far west as Bolian Township..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
For Primary Language: Lingao

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Jesus Film: view in Lingao Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project) Film / Video
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.85 %)
1.10 %
Ethnic Religions
86.90 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
12.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
90.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
10.0 %
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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