Tai Khang in China

Main Language
Largest Religion
Buddhism (Theravada)
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Chinese government recognizes the Khang, a sub-group of the Dai, as one of their official ethnic minorities. People in neighboring countries still call the Khang the Tai or Thai, as they knew them until the 1950s. The Khang's classification is uncertain. Some scholars believe they are more closely related to the Dong minority than to the Dai.

Most of the Khang live in the southwestern corner of Yunnan Province, near the Laotian border. Some live in Laos. In general, they live a little further north than most other Dai groups. The Khang homeland abounds in beautiful mountains, valleys and streams. It has a subtropical, spring-like climate year round. Every year includes a rainy and a dry season. Palm trees, banana trees and bamboo grow in abundance. Animals such as elephants, tigers, leopards, bears, monkeys, and peacocks live there.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most of the Khang farm for a living. They grow rice, their primary crop, though they usually only reap a small harvest. They also grow tea, cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, coffee, pineapples, and mangoes. Farmers still use traditional hand instruments, such as wooden hoes and sickles to plow, plant, weed and harvest.

Although many villages are larger, most Khang villages have about 30 to 40 households. Huge banyan trees and delicately designed Buddhist temples or pagodas are in a typical village. Most Dai-related people build houses from bamboo, setting the houses about six to nine feet above ground on 21 wooden posts in three rows. People use the area below the houses as a shelter for livestock. Builders use bamboo for walls and rafters and thatch the roofs. They divide the interior of the houses lengthwise into two rooms.

Annually, the Khang, along with all other Dai groups, hold a famous celebration known as the Water Sprinkling Festival. Today attendees celebrate the festival more as an expression of Dai culture than as an observance of a Buddhist holiday as they did in the past. It's a very popular event for tourists. During the festival, the Dai build small sand replicas of pagodas, listen to monks reciting prayers, venerate a statue of Buddha, and sprinkle each other with water.

At one time, parents sent their eight or nine-year-old boys to a Buddhist temple. The boys lived as a monk for at least two years, but more often for ten years. Temple officials gave the boy a new name. If he chose to leave and return to secular life, the officials gave the boy another new name. Upon the birth of his first child, officials would give the man and his wife each yet another new name. During the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, the Chinese repressed this practice, but today it is making a comeback.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Many of the Khang follow Chinese folk religions. They add elements of Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist to their spiritual beliefs. The Khang also consult horoscopes to determine which course of action will promote harmony and bring good luck. The goal of their blended religion is to maintain spiritual harmony.

The Khang also believe in a pantheon of spirits who inhabit the earth. They believe the spirits of their ancestors roam the earth. If the people treat the spirits properly, the spirits will bring good luck. The Khang believe deities are the souls of people who lived especially virtuous lives. Deities supposedly use spiritual powers to benefit their worshipers.

What Are Their Needs?

Those who are living in rural China like the Khang are not improving their economic situation. They have physical as well as spiritual needs in today's China.

Prayer Points

Pray for Holy Spirit led laborers to share Christ's love with the Khang people.

Pray for a Khang Bible translation, audio recordings, JESUS Film and online audio New Testament resources to be spread throughout Khang communities.

Pray that God will save key leaders among the Khang who will boldly declare the gospel, leading to a healthy and growing church for the glory of his name.

Scripture Prayers for the Tai Khang in China.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Tai Khang
People Name in Country Tai Khang
Alternate Names Kang; Tai Khaang
Population this Country 42,000
Population all Countries 70,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 12490
ROP3 Code 104572
ROP25 Code 303645
ROP25 Name Tai Khang
Country China
Region Asia, Northeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 19  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Yunnan province: southwest.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country China
Region Asia, Northeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 19  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Yunnan province: southwest..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Religion: Buddhism (Theravada)
Major Religion Percent
99.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.30 %)
1.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Kang (42,000 speakers)
Language Code kyp   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Unknown
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Kang (42,000 speakers)
Language Code kyp   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Kang

Primary Language:  Kang

Bible Translation Status:  Translation Needed

Resource Type Resource Name Source
General Language Learning Phrasebook They Need the Bible
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2024  Peoples of Laos, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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