Subei in China

Joshua Project has identified the Subei only in China





Largest Religion

Main Language



Although they are part of the Han Chinese nationality, the Subei - who are also called Jiangbei - have a distinct identity. The Subei are immigrants who came from northern (bei) Jiangsu (su). The Subei "are socially looked down upon and economically and educationally disadvantaged. ... The term 'Subei swine' is an extreme insult in the Shanghai dialect. The government recognizes them as Han, but they claim separate ethnicity and exhibit group solidarity. ... If you ask any one from Shanghai who they are, they'll probably know exactly who you're talking about and be willing to spread a whole lot of slander about how dirty and stupid these people are. The only reason they're dirty is because they're poor, and they're poor because they are uneducated and they are uneducated because they are discriminated against." Zhou Enlai, the Communist leader, was a Subei from Huai'an County.


Refugees from northern Jiangsu migrated into Shanghai in large numbers after floods in 1911 and 1921. The worst flood took place in 1931, resulting in 78,045 Subei people coming to Shanghai. Their numbers continued to grow. In 1946, nearly 59,000 Subei natives registered with the Committee for the Salvation of Subei Refugees.


To outsiders today, the Subei are largely indistinguishable from the other Chinese around them. Until recently Subei women wore "red and green silk clothes, embroidered shoes, pink or red stockings, and other brightly colored clothes." Even today, Shanghai women shun red cloth and often say to women wearing red, "You Subei person - that's ugly!" A 1986 study showed that 80% of Subei marry spouses of Subei origins. The Subei have a reputation for working in Shanghai's lowest and filthiest jobs, such as bathhouse attendants, barbers, and pig farmers. A 1958 study found 77% of the pedi-cab drivers in Shanghai were Subei people.


There are a few traces of Chinese traditional religious beliefs remaining among elderly Subei people, but most Subei under the age of 50 are atheists.


There are a significant number of Subei Christians in Shanghai. This city, which was the traditional port of arrival for missionaries, has received more gospel witness than most other parts of China. In 1996 Shanghai's more than 14 million inhabitants included 127,000 Protestants and 120,000 Catholics.

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

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-07-03
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-07-01
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-04-13
Video Links:
The Path to Truth and Life
People Name General Subei (Soo-bay)
People Name in Country Subei
Population in China 2,952,000
World Population 2,952,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 3.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Jiangbe, Subi
Affinity Bloc East Asian Peoples
People Cluster Chinese
People Name General Subei (Soo-bay)
Ethnic Code MSY42a
People ID 18685
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 The present population of the Subei people in Shanghai is almost impossible to measure, as the Chinese authorities do not count them as a separate people. The most recent population for the Subei was by Chinese scholar Xie Junmei who estimated 1,500,000 - or about one-fifth of Shanghai's population in 1949 - were Subei people. They were originally located in the central areas of the city, but were pushed out by the Wuspeaking Chinese during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)..   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)
Chinese, Mandarin (2,952,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Chinese, Mandarin 2,952,000
For Primary Language: Chinese, Mandarin

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1864-1986)
New Testament Yes   (1857-1981)
Complete Bible Yes   (1874-1983)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible Gateway Scripture Text / Printed Matter
Bible Visuals General
Bible-in-Your-Language Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Chinese Union Version, Shangti Edition, Simplified Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Chinese Union Version, Shangti Edition, Simplified Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Chinese Union Version, Shen Edition, Simplified Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Chinese Union Version, Shen Edition, Simplified Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Revised Chinese Union Version, Traditional Text / Printed Matter
Bible: 新譯本(繁體字版) Text / Printed Matter
Bibles, Bible League Text / Printed Matter
Cartoon Gospel tract Text / Printed Matter
Chinese Blog about Unreached Peoples General
Christ for the Nations Audio Recordings
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
Fathers Love Letter Film / Video
Four Spiritual Laws General
General Ministry Resources Film / Video
Primary Religion: Non-Religious

Major Religion Percent
10.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 6.00 %)
6.50 %
Ethnic Religions
22.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
61.50 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
64.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
1.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
35.0 %
Photo Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Video Source: Create 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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