Typical Salar Jobs
This is day 13 of 32. Throughout April, we will be posting daily. We invite you to learn about Chinese Muslims and pray with us for God’s glory to be made known among them. If you would like to read other posts in this series, you can find them here.
The majority of the Salar people earn their living through agricultural means with horticulture as the sideline. Xunhua County is widely known as “the land of fruit” and each Salar family owns a limited amount of land that affords them an opportunity to grow apples, walnuts, and hot peppers. The apples in Xunhua are very well known throughout northwest China, but as a result of this area being somewhat isolated, they are often undervalued. One Salar man claimed that apples in Xining sell for about ten times the amount that one can get for them in Xunhua! The red hot peppers and resulting spice from Xunhua are also very famous. Wheat and barley are also commonly grown, especially in areas further away from the Yellow River. The People’s Daily reports that an increasing number of people in Xunhua County are beginning to grow out-of-season vegetables and fruits that are being sold in other parts of China for even higher profits.
Did You Know? The unwritten Salar language is closely related to Uighur and Uzbek, and is typically spoken only in homes and businesses. But while Salar is the official language, it is slowly dying, and even now only a fraction of the people still speak it. In families where there has been intermarriage between ethnic groups the Salar language is not used.
Another popular means of income is derived from restaurant ownership. Muslim meals are quite popular in China and have become a common way for Salar families to make a living. Most restaurants are small family owned businesses that serve spicy noodles, beef noodles, steamed dumplings, eight treasures tea, and a host of other Muslim dishes.
Other means of income among the Salar people include sheepherding for mutton and wool, lumberjacking, and bus and taxi driving. In fact, the transportation industry provides numerous jobs throughout the region, and the Salar are very territorial about their shipping routes. Traditionally the Salar used sheepskin rafts to ferry goods and people across the Yellow River and to transport timber downstream.
The major industrial employer in Xunhua County previously was a textile manufacturer that produced blankets, sweaters, and other clothes. This company is still one of the largest companies in Qinghai, but it has moved most of its operations to Xining. Additionally, in Xunhua there is a concentrated juice factory, chili pepper factory, and another textile company that produces the white Muslim skull caps that most Muslim men wear.
- Pray that God will open doors for followers of Jesus to do business with Salar people and have many opportunities to share the Gospel and be a light.
- Pray that God will reveal to Salar people that their hope should not be in money or a successful business but in God alone who is the source of life.