The Huihui

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

Romans 10:14-15

The Basics


Located near the airport in Sanya on Hainan Island is a small unreached people group of about 10,000 people known locally as the Huihui. The Joshua Project classifies them as the Utsat people, but they do not know this name. They identify themselves as part of the Hui minority group in China as the government has classified them. However, they are different. They have slightly different facial features and skin color and look more Malaysian than Chinese. They trace their ancestry back to Malaysia, Cambodia and/or Vietnam. It is believed that they traveled from one of these countries back in the 18th or 19th century.


Their Religion


The Huihui were Muslim when they arrived on Hainan Island about 400 years ago. They have never wavered from their beliefs. Most Hui who visit Sanya are impressed with how devoted the Huihui are to the practices of Islam. Over the years, Muslim teachers have traveled from Malaysia to teach the Huihui the tenets of Islam and how to read Arabic.

The Huihui in Sanya

The Huihui, a small Muslim unreached people group of about 10,000 people

The Situation

There are no known believers among the Huihui and few are sharing the Gospel among the Huihui. About five years ago, God laid a passion for the Huihui on the hearts of several individuals. These believers began meeting regularly to pray for the Huihui. God has given them a passion for the Huihui and a desire to see the Gospel proclaimed among them.

Distinguishing the Huihui from the Hui

Squatting just inside the glass doors of his family store, Hassan watches the residents of the quarter walk by as they head home from work. Hassan is not an intimidating figure. He is a short, bony guy with a thin wispy goatee hanging from his chin. As he sees strangers come into view, he hops up and opens the door while waving us over.

We are excited to find someone who wants to talk. We have heard stories about the Huihui, but we are hoping to meet someone and hear directly about their history and culture. We quickly learn that Hassan is a teacher at the local mosque. He has traveled overseas to study Islam and is very comfortable talking about Islam and the history of his people.

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The Chinese Muslims of Hainan Island

It is often stated that Hui can be found in every county across China. It is debatable whether or not that is true, but Hui do stretch all the way across China from the far northwest of Xinjiang to the far southeast on the beautiful island of Hainan. China is not known for its beaches, but Hainan Island has beautiful vacation spots and a few Hui. About ten thousand Hui call Sanya, the southern city on the island, their home year around, and during the winter months when temperatures drop below freezing in the northwest another 50,000+ Hui travel to Sanya to escape the cold winters of their hometowns.

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Pray for the Huihui


  • Pray that local Jesus followers will intentionally live and work among the Huihui and seek to be a light for Jesus.
  • Please pray that God will raise up a church or churches to adopt the Huihui of Sanya and to begin praying for them and engaging them with the Gospel.

  • Please pray that God will send workers into his harvest among the Huihui and Hui of Hainan Island.

  • Please pray that God will open eyes to see and hears to hear among the Huihui of Hainan Island.