the northern asia unreached peoples initiative

Xibe

Xibe

Members of the Xibe nationality inhabit more than twenty-five counties within Liaoning Province in northeast China. Xibe history dates back to at least 400 AD. They trace their origins to the ancient Xianbei tribe, who were a hunting, fishing, and foraging group in areas which today border North Korea and Inner Mongolia. Historical accounts often mention features of blond hair and blue-green eyes among the Xibe. However today their appearance mirrors the greater Chinese population. A related group, now living in far northwest China, also goes by the name Xibe, but has developed its own language, culture, and customs.

In the past Xibe society was patriarchal with three or even five generations all living together, since it was believed that while the father was alive no son should break the family clan by leaving the house. They excel at singing, dancing, and playing their unique musical instruments. The women are especially skilled in making decorative paper-cuts. This people group has always placed great emphasis on education. Under the ancient dynasties they traditionally translated diplomatic documents from Manchu, Mongol and Uyghur, and even now have a large class of intellectuals.

The Xibe are mostly non-religious, but their culture retains elements of ancient folk religion. They still make offerings to their ancestors and worship deities including insect, dragon and earth spirits. The majority certainly have not yet heard the gospel, and are an unreached people group by all standards. However, in recent years there has been a stirring, and a few Xibe churches have been established in Liaoning Province, north of the capital city Shenyang. Many Xibe now speak Mandarin as their first language and could be adequately evangelized in that language.

In John’s vision in Revelation, he saw and heard a song being sung to the Lamb. The song proclaimed “… with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people…” (Rev. 5:9). His blood was shed for the Xibe, but most of them have never even heard about this One who loves them so much. God will be faithful to answer the prayers of those who cry out to Him for their salvation. Will you join others in praying, and listening, for God’s perfect plan for them? And if He should speak to you, will you be willing to respond?