Although the Cantonese today proudly consider themselves part of the Han Chinese race, one ethnohistorian has concluded, "The ethnic origins of the ancient Yue people ... may have been Tai, but with a sizable Miao-Yao minority in the hills. The ancient Yue language was definitely not Sinitic. It is estimated that the population of Guangdong was less than 30 percent Sinitic in 1080."
The more than 30 Han Chinese language groups described in this book are considered by linguists to be mutually unintelligible languages. They are not merely dialects of the same language. Cantonese contains up to nine tones - compared to the national language, Mandarin, which has only four. Although they speak different languages and dialects, all Chinese people in China use the same written script.
The large southern city of Guangzhou - which has been continually inhabited for 2,200 years - has always been the center of Cantonese civilization. In the 33rd year of the reign of Emperor Qin Shihuang (214 BC), the Nanhai Prefecture was established in today's Guangzhou. Large numbers of Han flooded into the area. Guangzhou became home to large numbers of foreign merchants in the ninth century until the T'ang emperors lost control of it in AD 878. An Arab traveler reported that "a hundred and twenty thousand Muslims, Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians were slaughtered [in Guangzhou]."
The Chinese have a saying that to be happy in this life one must be born in Suzhou, live in Guangzhou, and die at Suzhou, "for in the first are the handsomest people, in the second the richest luxuries, and in the third the best coffins."
Throughout the Communist era the Cantonese have continued to be the most openly religious of all Chinese. Most homes in Guangdong Province have spirit altars. The Cantonese also zealously observe Daoist and Buddhist festivals.
In September 1807 Robert Morrison landed in Guangzhou. A new era of Protestant missions began in China. Seven years later he baptized his first convert, "At a stream of water issuing from the foot of a lofty hill, far away from human observation. May he be the first-fruits of a great harvest." Today there are at least 1.2 million Cantonese Christians in China. Guangdong contains at least 200,000 Protestants and 110,000 Catholics, while heavily evangelized Hong Kong numbers 552,000 Protestants and 312,000 Catholics.
|Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway Copyrighted © Used with permission|
|People Name General||Han Chinese, Cantonese|
|People Name in Country||Han Chinese, Cantonese|
|Progress Scale||4 ●|
|Frontier People Group||No|
|Pioneer Workers Needed|
|Alternate Names||Baihua, Cantonese, Guangdong Hua, Guangxi, Gwong Dung Waa, Hakka, Han Chinese, Hoa (Hán), Macau Chinese, Nung, Punti, Totok, Yuet, Yuh|
Primary Language: Chinese, Yue
|Bible Translation ▲||Status (Years)|
|Bible-New Testament||Yes (1877)|
|Possible Print Bibles|
|Forum Bible Agencies|
|National Bible Societies|
|World Bible Finder|
|Resource Type ▲||Resource Name|
|Audio Recordings||Audio Bible teaching (GRN)|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament - Cantonese (FCBH)|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament - Revised Union (FCBH)|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament - Simplified (FCBH)|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament - Union (FCBH)|
|Audio Recordings||Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)|
|Audio Recordings||Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)|
|Film / Video||God's Story Video|
|Film / Video||Jesus Film: view in Chinese, Yue|
|Film / Video||Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)|
|Film / Video||My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)|
|Film / Video||Open the Doors See the Mountains (Indigitube.tv)|
|Film / Video||Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)|
|Film / Video||The Story of Xiao Nong (Indigitube.tv)|
|Text / Printed Matter||Bible: Chinese Union Version, Shangti 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）|
|Major Religion ▲||Percent|
|Christianity (Evangelical 6.61 %)||
|Other / Small||
|Christian Segments ▲||Percent|