Qiang, Cimulin in China

Qiang, Cimulin
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2024
Operation China, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Qiang, Cimulin
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 17,000
World Population: 17,000
Primary Language: Qiang, Northern
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 0.01 %
Evangelicals: 0.01 %
Scripture: Unspecified
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Qiang history dates back as far as the Western Zhou Dynasty (1100-771 BC), when considerable numbers of Han people migrated west and formed mixed communities with the Di and Qiang.

The Cimulin Qiang language is very different from other varieties of Qiang. "The Chinese character for Qiang is a combination of yang (sheep) and ren (people), with the composite meaning of 'people tending sheep'." Cimulin Qiang, which is a Northern Qiang language, is not tonal, whereas Southern Qiang varieties consist of between two to six tones. Many of the Cimulin Qiang are bilingual in Tibetan, while others living near the towns are able to speak Chinese. In addition, speakers of Northern Qiang dialects have been placed under the Tibetan nationality.

What Are Their Lives Like?

One of the Qiang festivals is called Jishanhui, which women are not allowed to attend. They sacrifice a cow or sheep on an altar to the god of the mountains. They ask for a good harvest and peace for the village.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Northern Qiang language groups have embraced Tibetan Buddhism more zealously than the Southern Qiang, because of centuries of influence from neighboring Tibetans. The Northern Qiang also worship a multitude of Chinese and Tibetan deities, of which the sky god is considered the greatest. There are shamans, witches, and mediums throughout the countryside. In 1994 one Christian interviewed a Qiang sorceress at a temple reputed to be 1,000 years old. The woman told the visitor, "'I have the power to put people into a trance, and make their spirits leave their bodies and travel to hell. Usually, we can then call their spirits back, but sometimes it doesn't work, and the person dies and is trapped in hell forever. The visitors told her about a God who has the power to take her spirit to heaven. She was delighted and wanted to know more. Most Qiang people, like this sorceress, have absolutely no awareness of the gospel.

One Christian ministry has incorrectly reported there to be "no Qiang Christians remaining," but a small Qiang church does exist in China. There are a very small number of Northern Qiang Christians, including some families living in Songpan. There are no church buildings, but some believers. We don't know if there are any Christians specifically among the Cimulin Qiang. Several short-term mission teams in the early 1990s were arrested and expelled from China for distributing literature in the Qiang region.

What Are Their Needs?

The Qiang peoples need to have a revelation of the true God who made heaven and earth, unlike the gods they worship which have no power.

Prayer Points

Pray that the Qiang believers, even though small in number, will have a powerful testimony and draw their people to faith in the Lord.
Pray that despite setbacks in the past that mission groups would be able to penetrate these regions with the gospel.
Pray that the communist authorities would be thwarted in their efforts to prevent the gospel from getting to the Qiang people.
Pray that the light of the Lord would shine brilliantly upon the Qiang people and draw them to belief in the true God.

Text Source:   Joshua Project