Kazakh, Qinghai in China

Kazakh, Qinghai
Photo Source:  Abdulrakhim Aitbayev 
Map Source:  People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Kazakh, Qinghai
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 3,700
World Population: 3,700
Primary Language: Kazakh
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Kazakh
Affinity Bloc: Turkic Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Although the Qinghai Kazakhs are part of the official Kazakh nationality in China, they now consider themselves to be a distinct people group. Their language has also become different from other Kazakhs in Xinjiang. The Qinghai Kazakhs have a common affinity and kinship for each other because of the horrendous events of their history.

In 1936 a group of 10,000 Kazakhs left northern Xinjiang and migrated south to Qinghai. "Beset there by Mongol nomads, the Kazakhs moved further south in 1939, only to be caught and massacred by a local warlord. Of 10,000 Kazakhs, they say all but 700 perished. Today they have recovered to become a commune of about 2,000 semi-nomads, who raise sheep, horses, cattle and camels and live in houses near Golmud in winter."

The Kazakhs have long desired to have their own independent state. In the 1940s a man named Osman led his fellow Kazakhs in a rebellion. This rebellion gave them control of a large area of southwest Xinjiang. Several years later in 1951, Osman was captured and executed. In 1953, the communists slaughtered 12,600 of the 15,000 Kazakhs who attempted to flee China.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Qinghai Kazakhs are nomads who migrate seasonally in search of new pastures. Their yurts are designed to be quickly assembled and easily transported. Their livestock includes sheep, goats, and some cattle. One of their favorite drinks is called kumyss, a wine made from fermented mare's or horse's milk. When a young Kazak couple marries, the "bride price" is often paid in horses.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Although they claim to be Muslims, the Qinghai Kazakhs are essentially animists. They also engage in ancestor worship. They are surrounded by Tibetan Buddhists on every side but have stubbornly refused to embrace their religion. The Qinghai Kazakhs still admit to being Muslims; but without the Koran, teachers, or a mosque to worship in, their devotion has gradually eroded.

Famous Scottish missionary George Hunter translated the first Scriptures for the Kazakh in China. Books of the Bible were printed by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1922. Today the Kazaks of Qinghai are a completely untouched group and have no knowledge whatsoever of Christ or the gospel.

What Are Their Needs?

The Qinghai Kazakhs need to understand they must have a sin-free savior to have peace with God. Works will never “work.”

Prayer Points

Pray for the Qinghai Kazakhs people to have hearts that are open to the abundant blessings of Jesus Christ.
Pray for their families to prosper financially and spiritually as they experience a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Pray for a Disciple Making Movement among the Qinghai Kazakhs that will spread joy, peace, and salvation to other peoples.

Text Source:   Joshua Project